Starting Salaries

The optimal rate of pay at hire takes into consideration the following factors:

  • The position’s Market Reference Range (“MRR”).
  • An assessment of attained capabilities relative to the position requirements.
  • A projection of the number of years required to attain performance expectations given current capabilities.  

Consideration must also be given to the availability of funds within the division budget and the labor market. The University’s Market Reference Ranges are sufficiently broad to support pay decisions that are market competitive. Each Market Reference Range includes five anchoring pay rates that can assist managers in establishing pay rates for their new staff employee:

Minimum: The lowest rate observed in the market below which no employee in the MRR is to be paid. Paying at, or moderately above, the range minimum may be appropriate only for those who meet only the minimum requirements of the position.


1st Quartile: The rate of pay halfway between minimum and midpoint. A pay rate at or near the 1st Quartile may be appropriate for new hires with developing capabilities but who will most likely require 2-4 years to be judged fully capable of performing at expectations.

Midpoint: The rate of pay equivalent to market median. Pay at or near the range midpoint may be appropriate for those with directly relevant experience and capabilities and who are expected to immediately and consistently perform at position expectations.


  3rd Quartile and Maximum: Infrequently, a decision to establish the pay rate above midpoint may be made. Such rates are beyond the market competitive rate, as represented by the Midpoint, but reflect uncommon capabilities that significantly exceed position requirements and that benefit the University. In no event will the starting salary exceed the maximum of the Market Reference Range.

A review of pay rates within the work group is recommended as a final step in establishing pay at hire. Human Resources assists by further comparing the recommended rate to those performing similar work across the University. The hiring manager consults with division/department leadership and Human Resources when establishing pay rates at hire