Forms, Policies, & Guides

302 - Job Classification

Subject: Job Classification

Section: U302

Date: August 4, 2005


To outline how positions are classified at the University of Chicago.


The University's philosophy regarding job classification and compensation is to maintain job classifications and pay levels that are internally consistent and externally competitive. All positions will be classified based on the essential functions and job-related qualifications as documented in their job descriptions. HR - Compensation will use information obtained from the job description and from consultations with supervisors and unit human resources representatives, as well as market data, to determine a position's classification. Job classification includes evaluating and determining a position's job group, Fair Labor Standards Act exemption status, and pay range.


  1. A position is classified on the basis of job content. The skills and performance of the employee in the job are not considered when classifying a position. A job is grouped according to type of work performed. Job groups also determine whether or not the position is represented by a bargaining unit.
  2. A position is evaluated to determine whether it meets the criteria for exemption from the overtime, record-keeping, and other provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. This evaluation determines whether a position will be paid hourly (biweekly) with the eligibility for payment of overtime, or whether a position will be paid on a salary basis (monthly). HR's decision on exemption status is final.
  3. A position is classified into a pay range based on an analysis of the position's essential functions and job-related qualifications, as well as market data. A position is compared within the unit, throughout the University, and with the applicable external labor market in which the University competes for a similar position.
  4. A job analysis is done using salary surveys to establish a framework of benchmark jobs on which the entire job classification program is based. A benchmark job is one that is considered standard, in that its characteristics are consistent between organizations. That job can then be used to make pay comparisons to analogous positions within or outside the organization. HR - Compensation has established benchmark jobs and regularly reviews the position of those jobs in the external labor market.
  5. A position is classified into a pay range based on differences in the market values for various jobs to ensure that a job of similar responsibility falls within the same pay range, and to ensure that staff employees working in similar positions are paid appropriately.
  6. HR - Compensation participates in several salary surveys that provide information on pay rates in the marketplace outside the University. HR - Compensation can share with human resources representatives, unit administrators or supervisors information about the market for jobs in their areas. A staff employee will not be provided access to market data for his/her own position.
  7. Due to a consent decree among the Ivy League institutions and related anti-trust considerations, the University should only share wage and salary information when all the following criteria are met:

    • the wage and salary information is collected through a salary survey which is processed by a third party (not one of the participating organizations);
    • at least five (5) organizations participate in the salary survey (to provide a sufficient aggregate so no institution can determine exactly what one of the other institutions is paying); and
    • data is from the past (more than three months old) - rather than future planning.
  8. All requests to participate in a salary survey must be referred to HR - Compensation.

Employees represented by a bargaining unit may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.