2023 Staff Compensation Rollout

In 2022, we began a multi-phase compensation project designed to ensure that Kennesaw State University can continue to attract, retain, and grow the staff required to fulfill our mission of unleashing the potential in every student we serve—and to realize our vision of becoming a top-tier R2 institution. 

As we communicated in our April 2023 update email to campus, the refresh of our staff compensation program has been approved by the USG. The refreshed staff compensation program will launch in July 2023.

Compensation Training to Managers

Below is the recorded session of the new Compensation Program and Career framework training that was offered to all managers during the month of April 2023. 

Career Framework Training for Staff

Below are training opportunities for all KSU staff so that you can have a better understanding of the career framework and how it impacts you, as well as how you can use it to identify potential opportunities.

  • Date
  • Monday, 7/10/2023
    2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
    University Rooms B&C
  • Wednesday, 7/12/2023
    9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
    Academic Learning Center ALC 1201
  • Tuesday, 7/18/2023
    9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
    Engineering 202
  • Wednesday, 7/26/2023
    10:00 AM -11:30 AM
    Marietta Ballrooms A&B
  • Friday, 7/28/2023
    11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
    University Rooms B&C
  • Tuesday, 8/1/2023
    3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
    KSU Center 300
  • Wednesday, 8/2/2023
    3:00 PM - 4:30 PM
    Town Point TP 2240
Register here

Career Framework tool

To continue to attract, retain, and grow the talent needed to fulfill our mission requires a compensation program that supports career development and career progression. Our new Career Framework does just that. It offers transparency and better clarity as you build a meaningful and rewarding career at KSU. View the KSU Career Framework Tool below to get familiar with our Career Framework, view each Job Family and the criteria for current Job Levels, and explore potential career paths.  Note: The Career Framework tool does not function in Safari. For best results, please use Chrome.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

These FAQs are intended to answer common questions about our compensation program and how we reward our people at Kennesaw State University. The answers will help you understand our new career framework, communicate basic details about the impact to staff, and ensure our workforce receives consistent messages.


  • Human Resources conducted a multi-phase compensation project designed to ensure that the University can continue to attract, retain, and grow the staff and faculty required to fulfill our mission and to realize our vision of becoming a top-tier R2 institution. With a new career framework and refreshed compensation program, employee performance and pay are now directly aligned with how we organize jobs, leading to an effective program where KSU staff and managers understand the specific behaviors needed to contribute, grow, and advance at the University.

  • A refreshed compensation program and new career framework provides baseline data to develop a multi-year plan to address market competitiveness, equity, and compression of pay at KSU. It will also create a uniform, market-based approach for determining pay and managing career progression at all levels across campus.

  • Yes. We wanted to ensure the University pays competitively while also maintaining internal equity and acting in accordance with the policies established by the Board of Regents of the University System. We also sought to recognize and reward individual performance to drive motivation and growth across the University.

  • We wanted to ensure compensation at KSU aligns with the needs of the University and supports future growth and sustained success for all staff. Therefore, we considered each role and the level of work required for KSU to achieve its mission, as well as the cost of labor in Atlanta and the surrounding areas.

  • We created foundational elements that serve as anchors for a competitive and sustainable compensation program and Career Framework. This includes a: 
    Compensation philosophy—an approved policy statement that guides the design, management, and communication of KSU’s compensation program 
    Peer group—a core set of institutions, similar in size and complexity, against which KSU will measure pay for staff jobs 
    Job architecture—a description of the level, nature, and type of work generally performed within a grouping of similar jobs; this is the first component of our career framework 
    Pay structure—a single, campus-wide system for managing pay for all staff jobs; this is the second component of our Career Framework 

  • Our new career framework consists of two elements: a job architecture and pay structure. These two elements combine to outline defined pathways—movements you can make to grow your career at KSU. The movements can be horizontal (across functions/job families/work units) and vertical (at the various levels of work at KSU). The career framework offers a clear organization of jobs that supports professional development and links to the pay structure to accommodate staff who grow within their current job or accept new challenges through a horizontal or vertical move. 

  • Our pay structure is the second element of our career framework; it’s our organization-wide approach for how competitive pay for staff positions is determined across the University. It ensures we offer equitable pay based on pay ranges that are determined by a core group of benchmark positions at KSU. Benchmarks are industry-specific positions that are standard within other higher education institutions and/or common positions that have standard roles and responsibilities across different industries outside of higher education.

  • Our campus-wide career tracks are Executive, Management, Technical Contributor, Professional Contributor, Administrative, and Support. For each staff role at KSU, the appropriate career track is determined by analyzing the type of work involved and the supervision required.

  • A job family describes a broad category or field of work. At KSU, there are 18 Job Families: Academic Services (ACS), Administrative Support (ADS), Advancement (ADV), Athletics (ATH), Campus Services (CMS), Enrollment Services (ESE), Facilities Management (FCM), Finance (FIN), Health Services (HLT), Human Resources (HRS), Information Technology (ITS), Legal (LEG), Library (LIB), Marketing & Communications (MCM), Operations (OPS), Public Safety (PUB), Research (RES), and Student Services (STS).

  • A job level recognizes the different levels of expertise within a career track. Within each career track and job family, there are distinct job levels based on the competencies and responsibilities required in the job. Jobs are mapped to a job level based on defined criteria; this criteria differentiates the requirements of each job level and helps to ensure consistency across the University.

  • With support from Buck, a third-party human resources consulting firm, we conducted a market analysis and developed a peer group to compare the pay opportunities for staff jobs at KSU based on the scope, size, and complexity of each comparator institution and, in some cases, similar jobs found in general industries outside of higher education. We worked together to match benchmark jobs at the University to survey job descriptions, which we used as anchors to build our pay structure.

  • Our focus was on each staff job at KSU and the responsibilities and requirements needed to perform each role successfully. This approach allowed us to conduct an unbiased assessment of pay opportunities for all jobs across campus.

  • This project was a partnership between leaders across the University, the HR Advisory Council (HRAC), and Buck, a third-party human resources consulting firm. Key stakeholders reviewed and approved our new career framework—both the job architecture and the pay structure—to ensure accuracy. The overall assignment of jobs within the career framework was also reviewed to ensure consistency across the University.

  • With the new structure, the baseline for compensation determination for new hires will be relevant experience to the position with additional consideration for preferred qualifications listed on the job description (i.e. advanced degree, certification, specific skill etc.). Any additional considerations must be listed on the job description/posting.  If internal equity appears to be a concern, Compensation will complete an equity analysis and provide options to the recruiter/hiring manager. 

Job Architecture

  • Not necessarily.   While the various tracks and levels may have similar overall requirements (for example, a bachelor’s degree), the specific requirements for each position may differ (a bachelor’s degree in Health Education vs. a bachelor’s degree in Accounting). 

  • Higher level positions are not created because someone has been in their position for a particular length of time.  There must be a business need for the higher-level position to exist – meaning a need for the higher-level work to be done.  If there is a need for a higher-level position, the position should be posted and applied for. 

  • While the job architecture provides insight into options for career expansion or career growth, there still must be a business need for the other position to exist in order to move.   The position would then be posted for internal (and sometimes external) applicants to be considered.  

  • The majority of positions will be in the job family that their department is in. There are some “across campus” type positions or positions with primary functions that are more appropriate with another job family.  Some examples of this may be Finance (Business Operations type roles) and Operations (Program Coordinator roles).   

Salary Structure

  • It is our intent to review the pay scales/market study for all positions every three years and make any necessary adjustments.   That doesn’t automatically mean that there will be individual salary impacts each time.  We are working with Fiscal Affairs to determine how we can budget appropriately for this.  

  • First, Georgia Tech may have a different peer group than KSU since they are an R1 institution.  Second, Georgia Tech (and Georgia State) may have to add premiums to some of their positions to accommodate the larger and more complex organization as well as the increased cost of such things as parking downtown, which is significantly higher than what we pay here at KSU.  

  • Jobs are “priced” based on multiple factors.  They include the educational preparation, scope of the role, market demand and strategic impact to the institution.  While two jobs may both be in the same career track and job level, those factors may be very different between the two roles, requiring different pay grades.  

  • There are multiple peer institution lists for KSU based on what they are being used for.  The peer institution list for staff compensation will be used for this purpose only.  In an effort to not cause confusion on campus with other peer lists,  we will not be posting this peer group, but are happy to answer any questions regarding the list.  

Staff Impact

  • No. The goal of our career framework is not to eliminate jobs or reduce pay for KSU staff.

  • No. In fact, no KSU staff employees will receive a reduction in pay based on the new job architecture and the new pay structure; a few staff employees may potentially see pay increases based on the market-based structure.

  • The outcomes of the refreshed compensation program do not impact how you do your job on a day-to-day basis. Going forward, our career framework will allow each staff job at KSU to be representative of both its internal relationship to other similar jobs within the University and its external market value. 

  • Our career framework is consistent across the institution, allowing staff to clearly understand the possibilities for compensation and career growth. The simplified approach we are taking to identify, evaluate, and organize our staff jobs helps us make career growth more transparent. You can also be more accountable for your career and pay progression by referring to available tools and resources, reviewing specific job descriptions, and knowing the attributes, skills, and experiences needed to move within the University.

  • Managers will be better equipped to deliver more clear and effective communication about pay and career growth at KSU, leading to improved understanding and more positive outcomes.

  • Yes. KSU is committed to providing an equitable pay structure that is based on how staff jobs are positioned within the institution and how staff jobs are compensated in the external market. However, this does not mean all staff in the same salary grade receive the same exact pay; it means pay is aligned to the internal job position, external market factors, and the employee’s qualifications and performance relevant to their position.

  • It depends. At KSU, our staff jobs, in aggregate, are paid competitive with the median—or middle—of the markets in which we compete for talent. Our thorough and objective process will result in consistent staff pay practices, career progression opportunities, and validated market pay adjustments for some employees to ensure our staff is paid competitively across the University—and against the external market.

  • Over the next several years, KSU will fund pay increases for a few staff employees whose position in the pay range may be low relative to market data and/or their performance, time in position, or experience. Managers of staff employees who will receive a raise will be informed and provided with the details of the pay increase.

  • We will continually review these but no title changes will be made at this time.

  • The compensation project addresses multiple priorities, and the criteria used is time in current position and not years of experience.  The priorities include bringing those currently being paid below the new minimum up to at least the minimum of the new structure; bringing those who have been in their positions for at least 5 years as of March 1, 2023 to the 25th percentile; bringing those who have been in their positions for at least 10 years as of March 1, 2023 to the midpoint of the new structure, and addressing compression, bringing people leaders higher than those they supervise. 

Pay Changes

  • We were able to address multiple priorities within the project this year.   They include bringing those currently being paid below the new minimum up to at least the minimum of the new structure; bringing those who have been in their positions for at least 5 years to the 25th percentile; bringing those who have been in their positions for at least 10 years to the midpoint of the new structure, and addressing compression, bringing people leaders higher than those they supervise.  

  • Not at this time.   We will be using employees’ time in position to determine changes at this time. 

  • Expectations will not be adjusted due to an employee not receiving a pay change.  Employees are expected to fulfill the responsibilities of their position.  If you feel you are not currently performing the duties of the position that you are in, you should work with your supervisor to determine if a review of the position is necessary. 

  • If an employee is on a documented Performance Improvement Plan, they may not receive a pay increase at this time.  The only exception to this may be if they are below the new minimum of the pay grade as USG policy requires that employees be paid at least at the minimum of the pay range they are in. 

  • We are not doing a re-review of everyone’s total experience at this point.  We will be using time in position to address salary changes.  You will be moved to the appropriate point in the new range based on your time in position. 

Funding for Pay Changes

  • We were able to address multiple priorities within the project this year.   They include bringing those currently being paid below the new minimum up to at least the minimum of the new structure; bringing those who have been in their positions for at least 5 years to the 25th percentile; bringing those who have been in their positions for at least 10 years to the midpoint of the new structure, and addressing compression, bringing people leaders higher than those they supervise.  

  • We will be working with those managing grants to ensure they have the funding to cover the changes. 

  • We will be working with those departments to ensure they have funding to cover the necessary changes. 

Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)

  • The $2,000 Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for full-time, benefited state employees will be applied after the compensation project adjustments. All adjustments are effective July 1, 2023. 

  • The $2,000 salary adjustment is for all regular fully benefited (30+ standard hours) faculty and staff of the USG who are actively employed on July 1, 2023. The adjustment will be prorated based on full-time equivalency (FTE). 

  • The adjustment is effective July 1, 2023. Eligible employees will receive the $2,000 COLA if they are actively employed on or before July 1st.

  • The $2,000 salary adjustment is only intended to cover the standard contract and not summer earnings. For full-time faculty working during the summer, the salary threshold is 33 and 1/3 including the adjustment rate. Related Policy BOR Summer School Salaries

  • The $2000 cost of living adjustment results in an hourly increase of $0.96154/hour for a full-time (40 hour) employee and is pro-rated for eligible part-time employees (30-39 hours). 

  • No, they must be actively employed in the eligible position on July 1st to receive the adjustment.

  • The COLA base salary adjustment will be subject to all applicable FICA Taxes, Federal Income Tax, and State Income Tax. Federal and State Income tax will be withheld at the employee’s normal tax rate.

  • Yes, the base pay adjustment is eligible for retirement benefits. Therefore, pay increase amounts will be subject to 6% employee contributions and the corresponding employer contributions to TRS/ORP.

    • Employees who are paid monthly will receive the salary adjustment, benefits adjustment, and premium adjustment for short-term disability (STD), long-term disability (LTD), and supplemental life insurance (SLF) coverage reflected in the 07/31 pay date.

    • Employees who are paid on a bi-weekly basis will receive the salary adjustment effective 7/1; however, the corresponding benefit and premium changes to STD, LTD, and SLF coverage will be reflected in the 07/14 pay date.