State of Alaska, Department of Administration, Division of Personnel and Labor Relations

Classification: Compensation Concerns

This page focuses on assisting you with situations that you might encounter and questions or concerns that you might have about the State's Pay Plan as it pertains to the work of your department, division, unit, and staff. Within the following you will find information and guidance on the role of Classification in personnel administration and dealing with various issues related to compensation. Some of your own questions or concerns may lead you elsewhere within our site. However, we may also be able to address them here. We encourage you to investigate all of the prospective questions and concerns, even if at first glance they don't initially appear to cover yours.

What is the State's Pay Plan?

Authorized under AS 39.25.150, the State of Alaska's Pay Plan is based on the Classification Plan and consists of overlapping salary ranges with multiple steps.

Coordination of the Classification and Pay Plans is a three-step process:
  1. Each position is assigned to a job class;
  2. Each job class is assigned to a pay range; and,
  3. Dollar values are assigned to each pay range

In their practical application, the first two steps embody the State's principal policy of establishing a system of personnel administration based on the merit principle and ensure the pay plan reflects the principle of like pay for like work.

The third step involves consideration of the State's competitiveness in labor markets and negotiation with collective bargaining representatives of employees. This step ensures the pay plan provides for fair and reasonable compensation for services rendered by the employee.

How is the pay range for my job determined?

A job class is assigned a pay range based on internal alignment within a job family. This alignment is determined through comparison of the classification factors of the job classes comprising the job family and assessing the similarities and differences in terms of their levels of skill, difficulty, responsibility, and overall authority.

Job families are evaluated for competitiveness with the appropriate labor markets as part of the routine maintenance of the Classification and Pay Plans. The State's policy is to target overall market competitiveness at the 65th percentile (the point at which 35% of employers pay higher salaries and 65% pay lower salaries than the State). Since internal alignment is the primary determinant in setting salary ranges of job classes, and the job families' competitiveness with market is evaluated as part of the overall system maintenance, the market competitiveness of individual job classes will commonly vary from this overall target.

Candidates aren't accepting job offers at the salary range set for the job class. How can I get the salary increased so I can hire?

This could be indicative of a problem with recruitment efforts and we encourage you to reference the Recruitment Concerns page for further assistance on this topic. You also should consider consulting your appropriate Recruitment staff regarding your recruitment and selection practices. In addition, your HR staff may be able to provide guidance on whether, or not, your recruitment efforts and/or selected candidates are appropriate for consideration of Advanced Step Placement (MS Word).

My employees could make a lot more money working for the federal government or private companies. How can I increase their salaries to stay competitive and keep my staff?

Pay is only one of many factors actually contributing to loss of employees and migration of employees from State service may be indicative of larger turnover problems. We encourage you to reference the Turnover Concerns page for further assistance on this topic.

Every time I get a new employee trained they leave for another job that pays more. How can I pay enough to keep them after they're trained?

Pay is only one of many factors actually contributing to loss of employees. This could be indicative of a larger scope of problems related to turnover or even the training itself. We encourage you to reference the Turnover Concerns and Training Changes pages for further assistance on this topic.

The workload in my unit has increased and gotten more complex. How can I get my staff the increase in pay they deserve?

A change in volume of work, in and of itself, is not a factor for consideration of changes to classification and compensation. Changes in the complexity of duties and assignments are indicative of work changes. We encourage you to reference the Work Changes page for further assistance on this topic.

One of my staff consistently completes more work, with better quality, than the rest of the unit and regularly steps up to take on the special projects and sensitive cases. How can I increase that person's pay to recognize their contribution?

Changes in the complexity of duties and assignments for one or more staff are indicative of work changes. We encourage you to reference the Work Changes page for further assistance on this topic.

My staff regularly has to deal with highly paid professionals in big, multi-national companies that make way more than they do. How do I increase my staff's pay so they will be taken seriously by the people across the table?

Consideration of the purpose, nature, and scope of person-to-person working relationships could be a work change issue. We encourage you to reference the Work Changes page for further assistance on this topic.

My staff has gotten certifications that make them more qualified and better representatives for the unit. How can I increase their pay to compensate them for their greater knowledge and skills?

Changes to classification and compensation as a result of changes in training, regulation, and/or professional licensing or certification requirements are determined by the nature and scope of those changes. We encourage you to reference the pages for Training, Regulations, and/or Licensing Changes for further assistance on this topic.

Here's my situation: in reviewing the work of my direct reports I believe that the previous supervisor of my unit inflated many of the staff's job descriptions way above the work they're actually doing. How can I correct this?

PDs should be updated and reviewed by Individual Allocations any time you believe they do not accurately reflect actual duties and responsibilities. Please contact your appropriate Allocations Supervisor for assistance regarding updating PDs.

In situations such as this—especially if involves filled positions—it is imperative that you contact the appropriate HR staff serving your department.

I wasn't able to find my particular questions and concerns here. What other options do I have?

We encourage you to continue reviewing our other pages. However, if you are either certain that your questions and concerns are not covered elsewhere, or have looked and still not found an answer, please do not hesitate to email us directly at the Classification Section.