Skip to Content

Division of Human Resources

Compensation Project

The Division of Human Resources is redesigning USC's classification and compensation system to make it more administratively efficient, market-driven and competitive. The new system will enable us to consistently attract and retain top talent and maintain a framework to ensure that employees are paid fairly and equitably. 

Phase III of Implementation-Salary Compression Review

In April 2023, the university moved to Phase III of implementation.  Phase III is a review of employees’ salaries compared to job related factors and their new market ranges to determine if salary adjustments are needed to appropriately align salaries within the new ranges and up to the new midpoint of the range.  The Job Related Factors Guide provides details about the information that will be considered in the evaluation of individual salaries during this review.  All requests for salary adjustments will be made by unit leadership, in coordination with their HR representatives, and reviewed for equity and approval by HR Class/Comp.  Units will be reviewed on a schedule between April and October 2023, with implementation dates varying based on the units’ request and need.  Employees should contact their unit’s HR representative for questions.

Key reminders during this phase:

  • Units will be reviewed on a schedule over a 6-month period and not all at once.
  • No increases are required.
  • Unit leadership will determine salary increase requests.
  • Not all employees below their market range midpoint will receive a salary increase.
  • All increases requested will be reviewed for equity prior to being approved.
  • The effective date of increases will be determined by the unit, for future effective dates, and based on available funding.

On January 1, 2023, the university moved to Phase II of implementation. Phase II is the implementation of the market pay structure which includes market pay ranges. The Market Pay Structure Fact Sheet provides details about the new pay structure.

The Division of Human Resources is excited to announce the phased implementation of the new classification and compensation redesign for staff beginning today (Oct. 31). To learn how the changes impact you, please take about 12 minutes to watch the recorded overview. Caroline Agardy, Vice President for Human Resources, explains the goals of the classification and compensation redesign process, milestones, and the phased implementation plan.

In addition, a job aid and login instructions  are provided for viewing new USC Market Titles and your job description in PeopleAdmin, our recruitment and position management system. The USC Market Title Fact Sheet provides additional information.

Our goal is for you to have a better understanding of the new job families, functions, level, and titles. Please use the QR code provided at the end of the recorded overview to submit questions. More information will be provided in additional communications to employees regarding changes to the compensation structure.

We partnered with PayScale (formerly PayFactors) to begin reviewing the current state of our position descriptions in July 2021.

Job Analysis 

Job purpose, job duties and requirements for all positions have been reviewed with the goal of identifying positions that are performing substantially similar work. PayScale has recommend alignment of positions into a consolidated list of job families and position titles. 

Job Alignment 

Descriptions for the consolidated job families have been developed by identifying essential duties and responsibilities and minimum knowledge, skills and abilities that are shared across substantially similar work. 

Market Pricing 

The consolidated list of positions is now being benchmarked against data collected from other organizations to determine competitive external salaries paid to similar jobs in the broader labor market. Benchmarking will be based on the review of duties, responsibilities and requirements that was completed at the beginning of the project. 

Market Ranges 

Finally, results of the benchmarking exercise will be used to create position-specific ranges that balance external market value with the ranges established by the State. 


The classification and compensation project is expected to be completed in June of 2022 with a phased implementation to follow.

Phase I – Information Gathering and Internal Review (Fall 2021)

  • Develop a communication plan to ensure timely updates to the university community of project milestones and progress
  • Develop USC compensation philosophy
  • Update position descriptions to ensure current duties and expectations are reflected and aligned to the correct State classification or unclassified title

Phase II – Job Evaluation and Consolidation (Fall 2021 – January 2022)

  • Analyze and organize position descriptions into jobs within the university
  • Develop new job titles with common job descriptions with the goal of accurately depicting job function and job level while standardizing titling conventions across the organization
  • Develop job families to organize jobs that perform similar tasks or perform common functions

Phase III – Benchmarking and Market Pricing (February 2022 – March 2022)

  • Match jobs to market job titles based on an understanding of their essential duties and responsibilities, an evaluation of their experience and educational requirements, and a review of the internal hierarchy
  • Determine relevant pay market(s) and competitive positioning, and then analyze market data to benchmarked job matches within the identified markets to create market composites and market reference points for all benchmarkeded jobs

Phase IV – Salary Structure Design and Costing (April – May 2022)

  • Salary structure design – Design one or more salary structures following compensation best practices while also meeting the needs of the university. Base market range assignments for classified positions on the university’s market alignment, internal hierarchy and within the state’s classification system. Base market range assignments for unclassified positions on current market rates for talent as determined by market pricing.
  • Assign grading of non-benchmark jobs (those who do no have sufficient market data available) to market ranges within the structures based on an assessment of their internal relative worth
  • Preform cost analysis to determine cost impact of market-based pay structures, internal equity alignment and market alignment of salaries

Phase V – Implementation (June 2022)

  • Phased implementation to be determined for fiscal year 2023

Review the following details to learn what the compensation project IS and is NOT. 

What it IS:

  • The beginning of a new way to attract, retain and develop employees through compensation and career growth.
  • A redesign of our classification and compensation system, to make it more administratively efficient, market-driven, and competitive.
  • An alignment of highly similar positions into common market jobs.
  • An identification of positions that are substantially similar, allowing the university to ensure equitable pay across comparable rolls.
  • An analysis of salaries within common market job titles.
  • An analysis of university salaries compared to the external market.
  • Set new market driven rates for recruiting talent in the marketplace.
  • Establishing career paths within the university.
  • Increasing flexibility and compliance.
  • Improving communication.

What it is NOT:

  • A redesign of the State’s classification system.
  • A general increase or automatic increase for all employees.
  • An attempt to eliminate positions.
  • An attempt to reduce salaries.
  • An attempt to pay everyone more.
  • A change to any employee’s currently assigned job duties or responsibilities.

With a welcoming environment defined by its Southern hospitality and sense of family, the University of South Carolina was named one of Forbes' Best Employers by State (2021). In a highly competitive job market in which employees are quitting their jobs to seek new and better opportunities, it’s critical that the university position itself to attract and retain the best people. As part of this effort, USC is conducting a comprehensive review of our current salary and compensation to maintain our standing, with an ongoing commitment to reassess our compensation regularly.

The following data shows how our classification and compensation system compares to the State classification and compensation system:

Description Number Percentage
Total number of job codes shared with state agencies  251  
Number of job codes that lag the state average 100 40%
Number of job codes where UofSC has more average time in the job code compared to other state agencies 170 68%
Number of job codes where UofSC employees have more average time with the university compared to state employees with their current agency 103 41%
Number of job codes where USC employees have more average time with the state compared to other state employees 110 44%
Key Staff Roles Where USC Lags the State Average State Average USC Average State Comparison SC Market SC Comparison
Student Services Coordinator I - CB65 $38,803.86 $34,686.08 -10.61% $40,255 -13.83%
Accounting/Fiscal Manager I - AD28 $76,122.08 $72,847.30 -4.30% $88,900 -18.06%
Trades Specialist IV - KC40 $40,848.25 $38,680.77 -5.31% $45,567 -15.11%
Building/Grounds Specialist III - KA10 $25,583.03 $23,662.54 -7.51% $28,123 -15.86%

Review this guide provided by PayScale[pdf] to learn more about compensation, market pricing, pay structures and pay concerns and raises. 


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.