Understanding Your Compensation Situation

To effectively advocate for yourself and your fellow staff you’ll need relevant information delivered in a correct, clear, and concise manner. You can then use the information provided to raise awareness within your local department all the way up to raising awareness to the UC Regents. Below you will find the first installment of information in the “Total Compensation Guide” below. Over the next couple of years, we will add more sections to help you understand your compensation situation more fully so you can advocate more effectively.

Total Compensation Guide

What is a Classification and a Job Code?

The Classification of a job is its official name, which might be different from a job’s working job title. All UC locations use the same Classification system. The Job Code is the number that is assigned to a specific job’s Classification.

Here are some examples of Classifications with their Job Codes and working titles:

  • Example #1:
    • Classification…    CUSTODIAL SUPV 1
    • Job Code…          005187
    • Working title…     Day Shift Supervisor
  • Example #2:
    • Classification…    ADMIN SUPV 2
    • Job Code…          007375 
    • Working title…     Regional Manager

What is the market rate for a Classification?

The market rate for a Classification is the typical pay rate that is paid for a particular Classification across several industries.

How is the market rate for a Classification determined?

There are two main components that determine the market rate for Classifications:

  • National Survey Data
  • Local Cost of Labor Data

There are several National Survey Data companies that ask thousands of organizations, across many different industries, to submit actual pay data for specific job Classifications. That collective set of pay data is then averaged across all of those specific job Classifications. The national survey companies then share the results with all the organizations that participated in the survey. Since the University of California participates in these surveys, we make use of the data.

The UC Office of the President also conducts their own Local Cost of Labor analysis for the geographic areas around each UC location to determine how the local pay rate is different for the same Classification at different locations. They apply that difference to each location’s salary pay grades.

A specific Classification will be in the same pay grade at all UC locations.

Starting with the National Survey market rate for a Classification, and adjusting it to the Local Cost of Labor for a specific UC location, the UC creates minimums, midpoints, and maximums for each pay grade at each location. This means the same Classification might have a higher or lower pay range within the same pay grade for the same Classification at another UC location.

The goal is to have the midpoint of a range reflect the market rate. However, the midpoint might be a percentage or two above or below the market rate in a given year because the market rate is always changing. To adjust to this constantly changing market rate, the UC Office of the President evaluates whether adjustments are needed each year.

How can I find the market rate for my Classification?

The UC publishes all their pay grade information for all UC locations in their TCS Inquiry tool, which is their corporate title code system lookup. You can ask your local HR department (or your supervisor) for your Job Code.

  • If you’re a staff member, click on the Non-Academic Titles link from the Home Page.
  • Enter your Job Code into the “Title Code” field.
  • Select the “Campus/Business Unit” you want to view.
  • Click the “Search” button.
  • Click the link in the “Title” column to see the minimums, midpoints, and maximums for your Job Code at that UC location.

The determined market rate for your Classification is the midpoint listed in the table near the bottom of the page.

Should I be paid at the market rate?

There are many factors that influence a specific person’s pay:

  • Internal: Budgetary constraints of the department; equity with the local UC location
  • External: Spike or dip in demand for that particular Classification’s work around your location
  • Individual: Educational achievements (e.g., relevant degrees or certifications)
  • and many more that are specific to a particular situation.

But, one of the largest factors is how many years of service you have in that Classification. For example, if you’ve been a CUSTODIAL SUPV 1 for the past nine years, then you will likely be closer to the market rate for your Classification than a CUSTODIAL SUPV 1 with one year of service in that Classification.

How does my salary compare to the market rate?

There are two calculations you can use to understand your salary in relation to the market rate for your Classification:

  1. Salary as a Percentage of Market Rate:
    1. Divide your salary by the midpoint of your Classification.
      1. If your salary is $45,000 and the midpoint for your Classification is $50,000, then you are paid 90% of the market rate for your Classification in your area.
      2. $45,000 / $50,000 = 90%
  2. Salary as a Percentage within the Pay Range (officially called the “range penetration”):
    1. Subtract the minimum of the range from your salary to get the first number.
    2. Subtract the minimum of the range from the maximum of the range to get the second number.
    3. Divide the first number by the second number to get the percentage.
      1. If your salary is $45,000, the minimum is $25,000, and the maximum is of the range is $75,000, then your pay is 40% into the pay range.
      2. ($45,000-$25,000) / ($75,000-$25,000) = 40%

Click here to use a calculator we built to help you with these calculations!


What is Total Compensation?

Total Compensation is the total cash and non-cash payments given to an employee in exchange for their work. Certain benefits may have a financial value, even though a team member receives no cash. To give you an estimate for the total compensation that most employees receive, you can use this Total Compensation Estimator. Depending on your unique circumstances your total compensation benefit might be more than the Total Compensation Estimator covers. Please contact your department, training program, or graduate division office for more information about benefits.

How can I use this information to advocate for change?

The UC Regents have said they want…

  • UC to be the employer of choice in California
  • Staff retention to improve

Wages that are appropriately matched to the market rate for the work staff are doing is a large factor in achieving what the Regents have said they want – which is also what the staff want!

Public Comment

One effective way to advocate for change is to increase awareness at the level of the UC Regents. Several individual Regents have shared with CUCSA that Public Comment sparks conversations between the Regents. CUCSA encourages you to engage with the Public Comments sessions of the bimonthly UC Regents meetings.

In order for the Regents to have a complete understanding of the pay situations of our fellow UC staff, they will need to hear people’s stories – your stories! We encourage everyone to begin their public comment with 10 seconds of information related to your salary situation, before you go on to talk about the main topic you’d like to share with the Regents. Those 10 seconds could fit within this format:


  • I have [say your years of service in your current Classification] years of service as a [say your classification], and I am paid [say your salary as a percentage of market rate] of the market rate, according to the Office of the President salary analysis.

Example #1:

  • Good morning, Regents. My name is Finn. I have seven years of service in my classification of Custodial Supervisor 1, and I am paid 89% of the market rate, according to the Office of the President salary analysis. Today, I would like to talk to you about ideas for improving relationships between represented staff and their non-represented supervisors…

Example #2:

  • Good morning, Regents. My name is Michael Scott. I have two years of service in my classification of ADMIN SUPV 2, and I am paid 49% of the market rate, according to the Office of the President salary analysis. Today, I would like to talk to you about ideas for sustainable practices regarding paper usage within the UC administrative functions…

Written Comment

A second method for communicating with the Regents is via Written Comment. Written comments are welcome and can be sent to regentsoffice@ucop.edu. Any written comments received addressing specific items on a meeting agenda can be sent to the Office of the Secretary and Chief of Staff (regentsoffice@ucop.edu) no less than forty-eight (48) hours in advance of the scheduled start time of the first session of a Board meeting, regardless of whether the first session is a session of the Board or of a Committee. Such materials will be distributed to the members of the Board and/or Committee.

If many people, in very different Classifications from all over the UC, are consistently bringing to the UC Regents how their specific salary is related to the market rate, then this will humanize the concern of staff retention via competitive wages.

It’s worth repeating that the Regents want…

  • UC to be the employer of choice in California. 
  • Staff retention to improve.

Let’s help the Regents become more aware of where that is not happening so that we can all get what we want.