Staff Compensation Study

Late last year, President Eric W. Kaler charged Vice President for Human Resources Carolyn Gregory to conduct a data-driven effort to assess Case Western Reserve’s salary structure for staff and provide recommendations for changes.

The overarching goal of this project is to enhance the university’s ability to recruit and retain high-performing employees for roles across the campus. The effort includes engagement with key on-campus stakeholders, as well as collaboration with a nationally recognized consulting firm, SullivanCotter.

Among the project’s key areas of analysis are:

  • equity relative to race, ethnicity, and gender
  • fairness among and within salary grades regarding required experience, education, and duties, and
  • market competitiveness, in particular among more-specialized roles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the most common questions received about the effort.

Sullivan Cotter brings three decades of proven success in the workforce and compensation fields, in particular with health care, higher education and research institutes. Because of its strengths, Case Western Reserve retained the company to conduct a comprehensive compensation analysis prior to the pandemic. 

SullivanCotter’s strong performance in that effort—as well as the extensive knowledge of the university that the firm gained—led to its selection for this project.

SullivanCotter is assisting with:

  • analysis of market data regarding compensation for specific fields and types of work,
  • benchmarking of position descriptions, and 
  • recommendations for adjustments to the existing salary structure.

Because Human Resources regularly receives adjustments to existing position descriptions—as well as entirely new ones—the university sent representative samples from every job family. It also provided several position descriptions that are particularly specialized and/or less common in university settings.

The university recommended reports to the firm, including those from several entities well-established in higher education and benchmarking more broadly. These included:

  • the College and University Professional Association (CUPA-HR); 
  • the Western Management Group’s EduComp® studies; and 
  • Mercer.

The firm is likely to use other resources as well.

Yes. While SullivanCotter conducts its work, the internal group mentioned above is reviewing all compensation policies, including those involving:

  • merit and promotional increases 
  • interim pay and additional compensation
  • lateral transfers, and 
  • other retention policies.

The compensation study involves staff in graded positions. No appointed positions are included. 

The timetable will depend on when the university receives the data and how long the internal review process takes. The university will provide additional updates regarding the process this fall.