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Staff Compensation Philosophy


It is our goal to provide a total compensation package that is competitive and enables USU to recruit, retain, and reward high performing, motivated staff to carry out the organization’s mission, as well as to support organizational strategies and values. A total rewards approach is integral to the achievement of this mission.

Internal vs. External Valuation

Both internal equity and competitive market data are used to establish salary structures and pay ranges. Balance towards internal equity will be achieved when slotting individual jobs without benchmark data within the pay ranges.


Senior leadership is responsible to set the policy. HR provides tools, resources and guidelines for administering compensation and regularly updates competitive practices. Management will make final decisions with the advice and counsel from HR regarding the level of pay for individual employees.


A high level of transparency is needed to consistently and clearly communicate compensation information, including employee classification policies and practices, to the USU employee population.

Emphasis will be placed on communicating the worth of the total rewards package offered by Utah State University.

Comparison Markets

Non-exempt: local or state markets (Western Regional Survey)

Exempt: regional and national markets as appropriate (Western Regional, CUPA data on demand for peer institutions, Sibson, and other specialized surveys)

Peers: Oregon State, Washington State, New Mexico State, Virginia Tech, Colorado State, University of California Davis, Montana State, University of Arizona, University of Utah, Weber State University

Data cuts: budget amount, doctoral granting, student size, etc.

Pay Progression

Pay is based on the utilization of knowledge and skills that contribute value to the mission of Utah State University as financial requirements and funding allow.

Pay Components & Prominence

Pay is the essential element of the total rewards package followed by benefits at USU. Other additional elements include: affiliation, work content, and the location of USU.

Program Model/Pay Positioning

The salary structure and pay ranges will reflect the USU market median objective. Base pay will be the primary delivery model supplemented by benefits, with internal equity adjustments, as needed.

Performance Management

Staff performance (as evidenced by measurable contribution and achievement of job responsibilities) will dictate pay increases to individual staff members.