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Total compensation includes both the cash and benefits employees receive in exchange for their work. Examples of cash compensation include base salary, cost of living adjustments, overtime pay, lump sum payouts, vacation and holiday pay, sick leave cash-outs, and other cash incentives that may be available. Examples of benefits include the cost of medical, dental, vision and prescription coverage for employees and their dependents, commute incentives, deferred compensation and defined retirement benefits plans, life insurance, long and short-term disability, training and education benefits.
The County’s compensation and classification plan has not been evaluated since 2002. It is a best practice for organizations to routinely validate and assess their classification and compensation programs. Appropriate compensation and classification alignment enhances employee engagement and satisfaction, and helps to attract and retain a diverse, highly qualified workforce. Conducting this study may also address other challenges the County sometimes experiences such as overlap, pay inversion and compression.
Benchmarking is the process we will use to compare our jobs with other employers’ jobs based on similar responsibilities, to identify the market rate.
No. Establishing benchmark jobs is an industry practice when conducting compensation surveys. HR, in partnership with Segal Waters, will choose the most populated and representative County jobs to survey, that are also similar to jobs commonly found in the public and private sectors. Although not every County job is included, the survey will include a sufficient number of benchmark jobs to be representative of the County’s classification plan.
The county will use a combination of public and private sector data. The County, in consultation with Segal Waters Consulting, has selected the following peer public employers for the custom survey portion of the study. Factors used to select the following organizations for survey purposes include the following:
To adjust for geographic difference in the cost-of-labor between the Pierce County and peer employer locations, Segal uses the cost-of-labor differentials report by the Economic Research Institute (ERI) for each peer location.
It is important to note that the cost-of-labor differentials do not necessarily reflect cost-of-living differences. Cost-of-living differences (which reflect the supply and demand for goods and services) are not necessarily a good predictor of salary levels. In other words, while the cost of housing (or other goods and services) in Tacoma, WA may differ from the cost of housing in another peer employer’s location by a certain percentage, the prevailing salaries may not differ by the same percentage. For adjusting salaries in a market study such as this one, the cost-of-labor differentials provide a more accurate method of determining whether employers are paying a competitive wage appropriate to a given geographic area.
“Cost of living” refers to the costs to a consumer in a specific geographic area. It reflects the price of food, housing, groceries, transportation, taxes and entertainment. Simply put, it’s the cost of maintaining a certain standard of living.
“Cost of labor” refers to the difference in pay or labor market for a job from one location to another. Another way to phrase this is that the cost of labor is what a particular geographic market offers as the “going rate” or compensation for its jobs.
Changes to classification and pay ranges are possible, though no reduction in individual pay will be recommended by Segal. Changes as a result of the study are subject to collective bargaining, the Career Service Administrative Guidelines, Executive and Council.
A goal of this study is to evaluate the County’s current benefits programs with other public employers to assess our competitiveness in the market. While it is possible that changes may occur, changes with a fiscal impact are contingent on budget, collective bargaining, and Council adoption of the recommended changes.
No, this study evaluates the County’s entire compensation program using objective market data and comparable jobs, which will allow the County to implement a pay program that is sustainable, competitive, and equitable. Any changes recommended that impact represented positions must be bargained with the appropriate union(s) prior to implementation.
All County jobs, which do not have their salary set by State law or charter language, shall be part of a comprehensive classification and compensation plan. All positions in the County, excluding elected officials, positions covered by law and the council, are part of a comprehensive classification and compensation plan set by County Code. We wish to do a comprehensive analysis of the County’s program in totality. Any changes to be implemented will be bargained with those positions that are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
The last study was conducted in 2002, but nothing was implemented. The last comprehensive study of the County’s pay and classification plan was conducted in 1980. It is a best practice for organizations to routinely conduct these studies in order to ensure that pay practices and strategies stay competitive, sustainable and align with the organization’s needs.
No. Pay for elected officials is set by the Salary Commission for Elected Officials, which is independent and established by County Code 2.100. However, the positions of staff who support elected officials will be subject to review.
We currently have over 450 job classes.
The Human Resources department utilizes a holistic approach to evaluating positions based on the general job duties, taking into consideration such factors as complexity of the work, knowledge, skills and abilities required; internal and external job comparisons based on similar duties and market data.
Changes to the classification pay plan are made at the recommendation of the Human Resources Director with the written approval of the Executive within budgeted funds, excluding elected officials, employees of the Council and positions set by law. The annual budget is approved by Council.
We will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) in the coming days. The county has budgeted $200,000 in 2018.
Managers will be a critical partner working with the HR team to ensure that position description questionnaires (PDQs) are completed by staff in order for current positions to be properly benchmarked and classified. The time needed will depend on the number of employees you supervise and the accuracy of the current job descriptions or classification specs. Human Resources will assist you in this process.
It is important that we understand where we are in comparison to the market and evaluate whether our current classification and compensation plans are meeting our needs. This work must be done in order for the County to assess and implement any options that are available. Throughout this process, we are committed to transparency and continuous communication.
All job titles are included in the study except for elected officials, judges & commissioners, Deputy Sheriff Officers, Deputy Corrections Officer, Lieutenants and Sergeants and any extra-hires, temporary employees or interns. If you have any questions on whether your job is included, please contact the HR Analyst assigned to your department.
Yes, if they fall into a covered job title in the study.