UA Compensation Project Update

Human Resources

On October 11  University of Alaska (UA) President Jim Johnsen sent a MESSAGE to all employees announcing progress on the total compensation study and the plan to implement compensation adjustments for employees under 90 percent of the market median.

Back in June he ANNOUNCED that UA Human Resources had completed the comprehensive compensation and benefits review. Individual letters were sent to all university staff, faculty, and executives with details of the study and employees' specific results in comparison to the higher education market. About 40 percent of employees are paid below what is considered within the competitive market range (+/- 10 percent of the market median).

At the September UA Board of Regents meeting, the Regents approved the Fiscal Year 2020 operating budget, which included $3.4M in compensation adjustments related to equity and market. The plan for these adjustments is to bring all university employees that are currently below 90 percent of the market median up to 90 percent over the next three years (FY20, FY21, FY22). The total cost at this time to bring employees up to 90 percent of the market is approximately $10 million, too large of a gap to close in a single year in light of current state funding reductions.

“I wish we were in a position to address the market salary gaps at once,” Johnsen wrote. “We must weigh the fact that our budget is under serious pressure, so a gradual approach allows us to address the gaps in a less financially disruptive way.”

All university staff, faculty and executives received a letter in May/June which provided employees' specific results. Position-specific market information from the letter is also available HERE. Use SSO to log-in to access your results. If you are a supervisor, your direct report results are also available. If your position has changed since July 1, new market data will be updated Oct. 28.

If you are under 90 percent of market median, and you are in the same position since July 1, a compensation increase equal to 1/3 of the amount required to increase to 90 percent of the market median will go into effect on October 28, 2019, and be reflected in your November 22 paycheck. By December 20, 2019, you will also receive a lump sum for retroactive payment back to July 1, 2019. If you are in a different position since July 2, your position will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

The compensation project is still not complete. This first phase provided a baseline compared to the higher education salaries. The next phase will include developing a compensation philosophy and implementing policy and regulation updates to reflect the new philosophy.

If you have any questions about the salary adjustments or the total compensation project, please take a look at the FAQs on the website or contact Human Resources (907-450-8200,