Pay Guidelines

MIT strives to attract and retain highly qualified staff by offering competitive pay and exceptional benefits.

The Institute's pay decision guidelines emphasize continued development and expansion of skills, knowledge, performance, and the ability to be flexible. Our goals are three-fold:

  1. to compete for qualified staff in an evolving environment
  2. to pay employees equitably and fairly
  3. to be fiscally responsible

MIT expects that employees will strive for excellence in their job performance and take accountability and ownership for their careers. It is essential that employees, either in doing their current jobs or in preparing to take on new and different responsibilities, continue to develop and expand their skills to keep pace with change and ready themselves for opportunities as they become available. It is also essential that managers and administrators provide employees with opportunities to grow and learn.

Internal and External Factors in Pay Decisions

Pay decisions are based on both internal and external factors. MIT considers the external market those organizations with whom it competes for employees, such as other academic institutions and general industry employers.

  • Internal factors — pay equity with others in comparable jobs; an individual’s skills, knowledge, performance, and job-related experience.
  • External factors — relevant labor market trends and their impact on employee pay.

Obtaining Job Market Data

  • Compensation, along with department managers and administrative officers, monitors the job market closely.
  • Compensation participates in annual salary surveys and, whenever possible, obtains salary information on "industry standard" positions, typically referred to as benchmark jobs.
    • These are jobs that are typical in higher education and other industries and are easily matched and compared to jobs at MIT.
    • Results of salary surveys provide the range of pay found in the market for jobs similar to MIT's.
  • On the basis of these data, Compensation will review:
    • Salary levels and ranges annually to determine the need for adjustments.
    • Specific job families to ensure MIT is paying competitively.
  • Note: Markets vary for certain jobs, depending on the recruitment pool, whether certain skill sets are in increasing demand, or whether a shortage exists of individuals with a specific expertise. Therefore, market pay levels vary for specific jobs and can increase slowly or aggressively.

Type of Guidelines

Promotions

Promotions occur because of upward movement to a job with greater responsibility at a higher level or grade. Significant changes in responsibilities must have occurred for a promotion to be considered.

The process
  • Ensure there is an accurate and up-to-date job description when an employee is being considered for a promotion.
  • Where required, obtain approval from the designated senior administrator to ensure that established procedures within a department or school are followed.
  • Consult with Compensation and/or your Human Resources Officer for guidance in making an informed decision before discussing any salary change with an employee.
  • Review the guidelines and “key considerations” (below) in determining whether an increase is appropriate.
  • Compare the employee's current salary to salaries of those in his/her new peer group. An increase may or may not be appropriate, based on internal equity.
Guidelines
  • Promotional increases are typically between 5%-15%, depending on the increased level of responsibility and other factors as outlined below.
  • A promotional increase must bring the employee to at least the minimum of his/her new pay level or range.
  • The effective date of a promotion should coincide with employee’s taking on increased responsibilities.
  • Employees who are experiencing performance and/or conduct problems are ineligible for promotion until the problem is resolved.
Key considerations
  • How proficient is the employee in meeting the requirements of the new job?
  • Where is the employee's current pay in relation to the targeted pay level or range?
  • How does the employee's recommended salary compare with that of others in the same or similar job?
  • How does the employee's recommended salary compare with that of his or her supervisor and, where appropriate, direct reports?

If an employee has acquired new skills or their responsibilities have increased within their current job, however not significantly enough to warrant a grade or level change, options other than promotion exist. Please refer to Increase in Position Responsibility and/or Acquiring New Skills guidelines.

When an employee is changing jobs within the same grade, please refer to the Lateral Transfer guideline.

Sponsored Research Staff (SRS) and promotions

Because there are no grade levels or salary structures within the Sponsored Research Staff payroll category, an SRS employee who moves to a new position within the SRS payroll category with greater responsibility in the same department would be considered an "In Level Promotion." The position title may change, but the job title remains the same.

Transfers

The Institute encourages lateral movement to a different job within the same level or grade when appropriate. Such movement not only helps an organization through cross-training, but it also offers employees development opportunities to broaden their knowledge and enhance their professional growth.

The process
  • Where required, obtain approval from the designated senior administrator to ensure that established procedures within a department or school are followed.
  • Consult with Compensation and/or your Human Resources Officer for guidance in making an informed decision before discussing any salary change with an employee.
  • Lateral transfers should not necessitate an increase, however review the guidelines and “key considerations” (below) in determining whether a salary increase is appropriate.
  • If it is determined that an increase is appropriate, consider internal equity when factoring the amount of the increase.
Guidelines
  • Not all lateral movements warrant a salary adjustment.

    Example: When the new position is clearly at the same level of responsibility as the position the employee is leaving, no increase would be warranted.

    Example: When the volume of the work in the new position increases, but responsibilities of the position essentially remain the same, no increase would be warranted.

  • However, when it is determined that the position the employee is transferring to requires new and/or additional skills and is more complex than the position the employee is transferring from, an increase may be appropriate. The hiring manager/department administrative officer should be able to describe those new skills and/or how the job differs in complexity.

    Example: An employee's current job may not include financial and budget responsibilities; however, they may be a regular part of the new job.

    In this case, a pay increase, typically up to 5%, may be considered.

Key considerations
  • Describe how the complexity of the new position is more significant than the employee’s previous position.
  • How will the employee be expected to negotiate, set his/her own standards and goals, and/or manage or coach (either formally or informally) at a greater level than in his/her previous position?
  • Explain what type of decision making will be required in the new job and whether the consequences will be greater.
  • How will the new position require higher levels of independent action and autonomy?

A notable increase in responsibilities or in the level of complexity of the position may warrant a pay increase. The amount would depend on the degree of change in the position.

The process
  • Provide the new and previous job description for comparison - Human Resources will determine the level of change and ensure that the position's description accurately reflects the increased responsibilities.
  • Where required, obtain approval from the designated senior administrator to ensure that established procedures within a department or school are followed.
  • Consult with Compensation and/or your Human Resources Officer for guidance in making an informed decision before discussing any salary change with an employee.
  • Review the guidelines and "key considerations" (below) in determining whether a salary increase is appropriate.
  • Comparethe employee's current salary to salaries of those in his/her new peer group. An increase may or may not be appropriate, based on internal equity.
    Guidelines
    • Increases with increase in job responsibility are typically up to 5%.
    • An increase would be warranted in the event of major changes in responsibilities or a measurably higher degree of complexity within the current role.
    • An increase in the volume of activity or transactions will not typically warrant additional pay.
    • Similarly, an increase in the number of staff will not always lead to a pay increase for supervisory employees (if responsibilities remain similar).
    Key considerations
    • How has the ultimate accountability for the position increased? For example, is there significantly more staff; significantly higher budgetary responsibilities; and/or increased input in determining strategic direction?
    • Provide an example of how the level of decision making has broader impact to the unit, department, and/or Institute.
    • Does the position now require more complex and independent problem-solving skills? If so, provide an example.
    • What types of communications does the position require, and have they become more complex over time? Has the number of primary contacts/clients expanded?
    • To what extent are higher-level communication skills required, e.g., to influence, facilitate, and/or negotiate?

    Temporary increases

    A temporary increase represents additional compensation for an employee who has temporarily assumed major responsibility for, and performance of, a higher level job.

    The need for a temporary increase typically occurs due to a vacancy or an extended leave of absence. This assumed responsibility is usually in addition to the employee's primary job responsibilities and typically reflects the assumption of the additional job's principal responsibilities and/or critical functions.

    The process
    • Where required, obtain approval from the designated senior administrator to ensure that established procedures within a department or school are followed.
    • Consult with Compensation and/or your Human Resources Officer for guidance in making an informed decision before discussing any salary change with an employee.
    • Review the guidelines and “key considerations” (below) in determining whether a temporary increase is appropriate .
    Guidelines
    • The amount of the increase should be between 5% and 15%, depending on the degree of complexity of the additional responsibilities and the length of time the employee is expected to assume the additional responsibilities.
    • Generally, a temporary increase will be added to the employee's salary base for the length of time that the employee is assuming additional responsibilities.
    • Temporary increases must have a specified beginning and end date and are not intended to cover periods of less than four weeks.
    • ASR implications: If a merit increase is due while an employee is receiving a temporary increase, the merit should be based on the original base salary (exclusive of the temporary increase).
    Key considerations

    When considering a temporary increase for an employee, it is important to begin the process before the employee actually takes on the additional temporary responsibilities.

    Off-cycle merit increases

    It is recommended that no employee wait more than 12 months for a merit increase and performance review.

    When to consider an off-cycle merit request

    An off-cycle merit increase can ONLY be used for the following two reasons:

    • For new employees hired after review eligibility date, but before the effective date of their payroll category annual review cycle
    • For employees who transfer payroll categories after review date

    When a new employee is hired after the review eligibility date for his/her payroll category (but before the effective date of that review), s/he should be considered for an off-cycle merit increase approximately six months from his/her date of hire (typically, after s/he has completed the new employee review period).

    Similarly, if an employee transfers payroll categories and misses the review date, then s/he should be considered for an off-cycle merit increase approximately six months from his/her date of transfer.

    The process
    • Where required, obtain approval from the designated senior administrator to ensure that established procedures within a department or school are followed.
    • Consult with Compensation and/or your Human Resources Officer for guidance in making an informed decision before discussing any salary change with an employee.
    • Review the guidelines (below) in determining whether a salary increase is appropriate.
    Guidelines

    To determine the off-cycle merit increase amount, a manager should consider the following criteria:

    • Performance
    • Length of service in the job
    • Employee's salary*
    • Internal equity
    • Budget (departments are responsible for funding off-cycle merit increases given to employees hired after their review eligibility date)
    • ASR Pay Program parameters for that fiscal year

    It is recommended that the off-cycle merit increase amount be some portion (e.g., prorate the amount for the number of months the employee has been in the job) of the annual merit allocation, not to exceed the department's pay program parameters set for that fiscal year.

    *There may be times when a manager makes a salary offer that is somewhat higher than would be otherwise offered, knowing that the newly hired/transferred employee will have to wait more than 12 months before s/he receives a merit increase.  When this occurs, the manager should inform the newly hired/transferred employee that s/he may not receive another increase until the next review cycle, that an off-cycle increase will not be warranted, but his/her performance will be assessed approximately six months from his/her date of hire.