Table of Contents

Compensation includes the combined value of an employee’s salary, benefits, retirement contributions, qualified tuition reduction and more.

This page outlines how the University of Arizona ensures our compensation structure is data-driven, equitable and in compliance with all relevant laws.

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Compensation News and Updates

MSS FY24 Market Review Event Has Closed

July 31, 2023

The MSS FY24 Market Review Event closed July 28.

External Market Data Updates Take Effect July 24

June 20, 2023

To align our jobs more closely to market rates, the University will update the pay grades for 522 job description titles, effective July 24.

FY 2024 market data updates news item

Flexible Work Added to Position Description Form

March 13, 2023

A section was added to the position description form to allow units to enter what flexible work arrangements are available for the position.

Position Description Form (PDF)

New Salary Increase Worksheet Published

Feb. 1, 2023

Please use this form for an employee salary increase request of up to 10% related to off-cycle merit or additional duties. Such increases do not need approval from HR Compensation.

Salary Increase Worksheet (PDF)

The Basics

The University’s compensation philosophy is built on the following:

  • Maintaining a data-driven, competitive compensation structure that is updated regularly (External Market Data Review FAQ).

  • Establishing a consistent and equitable approach to compensation decisions.

  • Complying with all relevant federal and state laws while ensuring sound stewardship of available compensation funding.

Please contact your Senior HR Partner with questions.

Fair Labor Standards Act

The FLSA is a federal law that sets labor standards. Based on FLSA standards, employees are either exempt (salaried) or nonexempt (hourly, entitled to overtime) as determined by their compensation and job duties.

FLSA & Overtime Policy

Timekeeping Guidance

The following are user guides for the University Fair Labor Standards Act and Overtime Policy. This information does not modify, replace or supersede that policy.

Employee's Guide (PDF)

Supervisor's Guide (PDF)

University Minimum Wage

For employees


For student workers


Staff Compensation Program

In 2019, the University of Arizona undertook the University Career Architecture Project. UCAP created a new staff compensation structure and career architecture that defines a hierarchy and framework of jobs within the institution. It is designed to maintain competitive and equitable compensation across staff positions at the University.

Compensation Administration Guidelines

The Compensation Administration Guidelines provide a comprehensive description of the Staff Compensation Program and how to apply it.

Compensation Administration Guidelines (PDF)
Last updated: May 5, 2023.


Consult these guidelines when determining:

  • New hire compensation

  • Pay changes for promotions, demotions, transfers and retention offers

  • When incumbent review or exception request is required

  • Compensation adjustments for assignments

  • Additional compensation

Key Definitions

Bring-to-Minimum: A mandatory raise that an employee receives when adjustments in a pay range cause their salary to fall below the minimum of the range. “Bring-to-minimum” raises the salary up to the bottom of the range.

Incumbent Review: A review by the compensation team required when an existing employee’s job duties and responsibilities change significantly (typically defined as 30% or more), or in a way that affects how the job is mapped (Learn more).

Red-Circled: When an employee’s pay rate exceeds the maximum of the pay range the employee is red-circled to receive one-time merit bonuses in place of increases to base salary.

See full glossary in Appendix B of the
Compensation Administration Guidelines (PDF).

Career Levels & Career Streams

Staff positions are categorized into three career streams based generally on degree of responsibility. Each stream contains a series of levels that defines career progression toward more job complexity, knowledge and responsibility.

The University has three career streams: Manager & Leader, Professional Contributor, and Organizational Contributor.

View Full Work Dimensions (Google Doc)

Use this document to identify the appropriate career level and stream when promoting into or hiring for a position.
Download a modifiable Excel version.

Manager & Leader
(M1 - M7)

Manager & Leaders oversee an area of responsibility while directing the work of three or more employees. This career stream manages strategy and policy development.

M Cheat Sheet (PDF)

Professional Contributor (PC1 - PC4)

Professional Contributors are typically salaried, except perhaps at entry level. This career stream requires specialized knowledge or skills, often gained through postsecondary education, and oversees design and application of processes, programs or policies.

PC Cheat Sheet (PDF)

Organizational Contributor (OC1 - OC4)

Organizational Contributors are usually hourly. This career stream provides organizational support or service (administrative or clerical) or does “hands-on” technical or craft work.

OC Cheat Sheet (PDF)

Job Functions and Families

All staff positions are grouped into 26 broad job functions (e.g., Academic Administration). The job functions are subdivided into families (e.g., Academic Program Management).

Job Functions and Families


Broad Job Descriptions

After using the work dimension descriptions and cheat sheets above to narrow down the career stream and level for your position, use the following tools to identify the appropriate job title and general job description for your position.

The JDXpert tool and Job Library provide broad job characteristics and descriptions for individual staff positions organized by job functions, job families and career stream.

Pay Grades

Find the pay grades here:

University Staff Pay Structure

View "Managing Compensation within Pay Ranges" in the Compensation Administration Guidelines (PDF) for guidance.

Pay structure reviews can be prompted by local, state or federal legislation regarding labor laws. In addition, the HR compensation team regularly compares University jobs to external benchmarks to ensure that our pay grades are competitive.

To establish benchmarks, the University uses national surveys conducted by compensation and career architecture experts. The survey data spans three key areas:

  • Higher Education

  • General Industry

  • Specialized Industries (healthcare, broadcasting, engineering, agriculture and athletics)

Learn more in the Market Data Review FAQ.

Incumbent Review

An incumbent review is needed when an existing employee’s job duties and responsibilities change significantly. This is typically defined as a change in 30% or more of job duties or responsibilities, or one that affects how the job is mapped to the career architecture.

Incumbent Review Process


1. Contact your college/division leadership then your Senior HR Partner for guidance and alignment.

2. Fill out a Position Description Form (PDF) and Incumbent Review Request Form (PDF) to reflect changes in job duties and responsibilities.

3. Submit an MSS Exception Request in UAccess. Attach the updated position description, updated résumé and any other supporting documentation.

4. A results letter will be emailed to the person who submitted the incumbent review request.

5. Create an MSS Job Change in UAccess with an action code of “position life cycle.” Attach the results letter.

Quick Facts

Who submits?
College/division representative (HR representative or Business Manager) or the direct supervisor of the affected employee.

Where do I submit?
In UAccess > Employee/Manager Self Service > Request MSS Transactions tile > MSS Exceptions > MSS Exception Request > Create New MSS Exception Request and select “Incumbent Review.”

How long does it take?
Allow 30 days (reviews are often completed sooner).

Faculty Compensation Resources

The Provost’s Office has primary responsibility for faculty compensation. Connect with the Provost's Office:

Call: 520-621-1856

Human Resources Faculty Resources

9/12 Pay Plan Option

After their first year of employment, eligible academic-year faculty and appointed personnel may elect to spread their academic-year pay over 12 months. Enrollment in or withdraw from the 9/12 Pay Plan Option must be done during an annual window each spring.

Learn about 9/12 Pay Plan Option

Frequently Asked Questions

Before making a salary offer, review the "Managing within Pay Ranges" chart in the Compensation Administration Guidelines (PDF). Each pay decision should include review of internal equity, and the individual's level of education, experience, knowledge and skills.

Although a department may offer a new employee compensation up to the midpoint of the pay range without approval from the HR compensation team, please note that a large majority of new hires will fall into the first quartile of the chart.

The HR compensation team recommends the following to manage wage compression and make informed pay decisions:

  • Conduct an analysis of current wage compression in your unit with the assistance of your Senior Human Resources Partner.

  • Consider and account for the costs involved in hiring and training replacements for current employees if they were to resign, as well as the loss of expertise and institutional knowledge.

  • Document to your unit head the status of wage compression in your unit, the consequences of resignations among experienced employees and your requested budget for merit increases

University senior leaders have implemented an annual salary increase program as finances permit. Although parameters may change from year to year, the program typically has two components:

  1. An across-the board increase.
  2. Additional merit increases for particularly high-performing employees.

Visit the Salary Increase Program page for current/recent guidance.

For more information about merit increases, please review the “Merit Raises” section in the Compensation Administration Guidelines (PDF).

See “Temporary Changes to Job Duties” in the Compensation Administration Guidelines (PDF). Your Senior Human Resources Partner may also be a useful resource for guidance, both with the short-staffing issues and with compensation recommendations.

Job Functions and Families

You need to request a new PCN if you are adding a new position to your department or modifying a vacant position. Contact your business manager for assistance.

You can reuse a vacant PCN if it has Compensation approval dated after Jan. 1, 2020, and has an attached position description.

Reuse of a PCN created prior to Jan. 1, 2020, is not permitted.

The University career architecture is based on benchmarked jobs (job that are common across industries and for which salary surveys are available). When external data do not exist to support a particular level within a job family, Compensation may determine it is appropriate to skip that level.

Please follow these steps

  1. Connect with your Senior Human Resources Partner for advice.

  2. Complete a position description form (PDF). Review the How to Write a Position Description (PDF) for instructions.

  3. Submit the completed position description form to the HR compensation team at

  4. A compensation analyst will evaluate the requested position against existing positions to determine if a new position should be added to the career architecture. 

If you believe that the duties assigned to your employee do not align to the position to which they’re currently mapped, please follow these steps:

  1. Connect with your Senior HR Partner for advice and to review your findings and decisions as you move through these steps. Senior HR Partners will provide additional recommendations and guidance.

  2. Capture the core duties and responsibilities being performed on a Position Description form (PDF).

    • Review the How to Write a Position Description (PDF) for instructions.

    • Consider similar positions that exist within your unit. If the positions are supervised by different people, collaborate with them and review assigned duties to determine if the work is similar in function.

      Example: Five employees across multiple units may be mapped to the same job code. Upon discussion with the supervisors, you may find that the core duties and responsibilities are different.

  3. If the proposed new position mapping falls into a new pay grade, check to see if the employee's current salary falls within the range.

  4. Submit the Position Description form as part of an incumbent review (use the incumbent review step-by-step instructions).

Classified Staff

As part of UCAP, the University mapped all Classified Staff employees to jobs within the career architecture. At that time, Classified Staff employees had the option to move to the University Staff position where they had been mapped or to maintain their Classified Staff status.

Employees who remain in the Classified Staff employee category still follow the FLSA exemption status and pay range of their career-architecture-mapped position. Classified Staff employees who receive a promotion or change jobs are required to transition to University Staff employment.

Yes, Classified Staff employees have the option to transition to University Staff employment at any time. They must complete the Transition to University Staff Form (PDF) and follow the submission instructions on the form.

Yes. A Classified Staff employee who meets all eligibility criteria is eligible for compensation/merit increases based on the pay grade for their mapped position. 

External Market Data Review

To ensure that the University remains competitive in recruitment and retention, the Division of Human Resources compensation team conducts an annual external market data review of all the jobs in the University's career architecture.

In the context of compensation, “market” means the demand and worth of jobs within the current labor market.

External market data review involves reviewing jobs within the University’s career architecture against market data. This includes:

  • Identifying external benchmarks based on carefully selected, reputable compensation surveys conducted by third-party organizations.

  • Matching the survey data from jobs in relevant markets (e.g. higher education, general industry, and specialized industries) to jobs within the University’s career architecture.

Following the market review, the HR compensation team then presents findings and recommendations to University leadership.

Market Data Review Cycle:

  • Fall
    • The University's career architecture is reviewed against third-party surveys.
  • Winter
    • Findings and recommendations are provided to University leadership.
    • Once approved, results of the market data review are shared and included in planning assumptions by early January in advance of the budget planning period.
  • Summer
    • Approved changes take effect in the new fiscal year. 

Outside of this cycle, ad hoc reviews can be performed throughout the year if a business need is identified or at the request of a department/unit. Please contact your Senior HR Partner with questions.

Fixed surveys – Higher education
Each annual review includes two sources for higher education surveys, which remain the same each year:

  • Western Management Group's EduComp survey
  • CUPA-HR's Higher Education surveys

Rotating survey – Private and public industry
Each annual review includes benchmark surveys that represent private and public agency data. The benchmark survey source we use rotates each year among:

  • Mercer
  • Towers Watson
  • Compdata

As-needed surveys – Specific industry
Some University departments/units participate in industry-specific surveys on an annual basis. In these cases, the HR compensation team includes those surveys in the market review for specific industry jobs.

Survey data is matched to University jobs by comparing job descriptions in the survey to duties and responsibilities defined in our career architecture. To assist in this process, the HR compensation team imports survey data into a software system that houses all our career architecture jobs.

We then match median market salaries provided by the survey data to the midpoint of the salary range in existing pay grades in our University Staff pay structure. This comparison reveals where the University may differ from market.

Once the HR compensation team finalizes the external market data review, HR provides recommendations to executive leadership for final review and approval.

Not every market review results in updates to assigned pay grades. However, if University leadership determines that the market data review reveals a need to update compensation for certain jobs, then those jobs may be moved to different pay grades within the existing pay structure (i.e. the pay grades themselves would not change).

Example: A job within our career architecture might be assigned to pay grade 4. If data show that the market pays a higher salary range for that job, then the University may decide to re-assign the job to pay grade 5.

Note about pay raises: When a job is re-assigned to a new pay grade based on market data, pay increases for current employees are only required if an employee’s pay rate is below the minimum of the new pay grade. Other strategic pay increase decisions (e.g. to account for compression and internal equity) may be made by individual units and departments. Please contact your Senior HR Partner for guidance.