Feature Story: What really determines your salary at UCO?

David Herd, Director of Talent Acquisition and Compensation 

As director of Talent Acquisition and Compensation, I’m often asked by colleagues about benchmarks and market rates. How are they calculated? How often are they updated? How are they chosen? The most important question, however, is why are market rates important? So, let’s start there.  

Why are market rates important? 

  • They prompt supervisors to post positions at an appropriate salary to attract highly qualified candidates. 
  • They prompt supervisors to value employees based on their role. 
  • They allow the Compensation Department/VPs the ability to monitor equity between employees to ensure they are being remunerated fairly based on their role and responsibilities across divisions/departments. 
  • They allow the Compensation Department/VPs the ability to see how competitive our compensation levels are versus other employers in and around the metro. 

Also important – empowering UCO employees to know how salaries are determined at UCO. With the knowledge of benchmark market rates and the point factor method and how they are applied to positions at UCO, employees have a better understanding of compensation at the university. With that in mind, we have provided a list of our benchmarks database and the process for completing a salary analysis and point factor grading on The Hub.  

To answer the other questions, benchmark market rates primarily comprise data from 3 sources: the College and University Professional Association (CUPA), Economic Research Institute (ERI) and Payfactors. For each of the benchmarks on the UCO Benchmarks Database, we find the closest match in each of the 3 sources (match in terms of job description, qualifications, job duties, etc.). Each match provides a dollar amount of what that position is paid on average based on the data they have collected for similar positions in similar institutions. Our market rates are comprised of the average dollar amount from all 3 sources combined. 

Once benchmark market rates are set using the process above, supervisors have the ability to adjust these using Point Factor Grading. Adjustments allow positions to be graded more accurately based on them having more or less of each of the 5 compensable factors (Preparedness, Level of Influence, Problem Solving, Decision Making and Supervision). 

Market rates within our sources mentioned above change at least once a year based on economic factors; as a result, we also update annually to reflect any changes. It’s also important to note that positions on campus are constantly in flux as UCO adapts to new challenges each semester. Anytime a job description is changed, whether as part of a Personnel Action Form (PAF) or a posting, this creates a “Salary Analysis Event” – that is, the need for the supervisor of that position to work with the Compensation team on the appropriate benchmark and point factor grading to create the most accurate market rate. 

Outside of these events, we also encourage continual review of benchmark options and point factor ratings by supervisors and department heads to ensure knowledge of market rates for their employees to assist with retention and hiring efforts. 

The Compensation & Talent Acquisition Department offers training sessions via zoom to assist supervisors in completing the Salary Analysis Template.   

And there you have it! This was UCO Salary Analysis 101 – you can learn more about the Talent Acquisition and Compensation team on The Hub, and for questions relating to anything above, contact myself, David Herd, or Compensation Analyst Beth Stone.  




David Herd has been part of the UCO family since 2013 and a director in UCO HR since 2015. He has an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in Human Resource Management from across the pond in “Bonnie Scotland” where he was born and raised. David recently became a father to a “young lad” named Logan and can’t wait to teach him to play all the sports he can handle.