A classification and compensation study examines how an employer creates, defines, and associates jobs that perform similar or related work. Through the study, jobs are categorized by UNLV subfamilies that are built on clear job descriptions and illustrate, wherever possible, pathways for career progression and growth. The study also examines how those positions are compensated compared to each other and to similar positions in external markets.

The study creates new structures and processes for setting and adjusting salaries. No “automatic” salary increases will be made.

UNLV’s compensation and classification study is titled Rebel Future to represent the university’s mission to invest in its employees.

Study Timeline

Rebel Future will take place in the following phases:

This phase included finalizing the project scope, objectives, stakeholder involvement, deliverables, and timeline.

This phase included analyzing current classification data and documentation and conducting interviews to understand the context of the current structure and the work that has been completed to date.

Huron Consulting held three focus groups with 32 stakeholders to gain broad perspectives on current opportunities, challenges, and strengths of staff compensation administration, practices, and processes. 

Key Themes from Phase 2 Focus Groups
  • Employment landscape is changing
    • Benefits including retirement and time off are top factors for attraction and retention but may not be as strong as they have been in the past.
    • Other top attraction and retention factors include:
      • Work environment
      • Las Vegas location
      • Sense of mission
    • Hospitality, local/area companies, and other universities are seen as the top competitors for talent.
    • Internal UNLV positions are also seen as competition. “We compete against ourselves.”
    • In addition to geographical competition for talent, participants spoke to competition from remote work opportunities, specifically for IT positions.
  • Compression and equity are perpetual changes
    • Compression was shared as the strongest challenge to navigate, affecting how leaders evaluate pay for candidates. Many suggested they are bringing in less qualified talent or lowering qualifications of the job to meet budget constraints.
    • Participants spoke to the limitations of budget to address market competitiveness, leaving equity often the priority.
    • Equity is not clearly defined.
    • Titles are used inconsistently across campus, which makes internal equity across colleges/units challenging to navigate.
  • Pay as an incentive and motivation has limits
    • Compensation is not structured in a way to motivate employees once they are here.
    • Employees are primarily looking for pay increases when seeking advancement.
    • Internal job hopping occurs to achieve increases in pay.
  • Current processes and practices do not promote consistency or flexibility
    • Desire for consistency in foundational practices and the need for flexibility that makes us competitive in attracting and retaining employees.
    • Depends on the work – some positions (administrative faculty or hard-to-fill roles) may need more flexibility than others.

This phase includes drafting standardized job descriptions to be reviewed with functional subject matter experts and stakeholders; developing career ladders and mapping positions to appropriate job descriptions; and proposing business titling standards and conventions.

Standardized Job Descriptions

In March and April, approximately 145 subject matter experts (SMEs) composed of managers and staff reviewed and provided feedback on approximately 75 UNLV job subfamilies and 165 standardized job descriptions. Organizational and functional leaders reviewed and approved these job descriptions.


Round one of the employee mapping process is complete and round two began in fall 2023. Currently, 70% of the mappings have been reviewed and the remaining 30% are undergoing thorough examination.

Next Up

In March 2024, we partnered with the Office of Information Technology (OIT) and started the beginning stages of building a platform in Salesforce that will house the new standardized job descriptions. Once we implement Rebel Future, employees and managers will have access to view the new job descriptions with associated career streams and job levels in one location.

This phase includes defining the market as in identifying our competitors, and developing strategies for establishing labor market data, salary survey benchmarking, and future state salary structure to attract and retain talent.


Huron is currently conducting modeling and analysis on the impacts of a new proposed pay structure. We anticipate having further updates in early 2024.

This phase includes creating a roadmap for communicating the new classification and compensation models, training design, development and delivery to managers, on a timeline that is coordinated with other aspects of the study, and a strategy for implementation. It also includes a strategy for implementation.


Rebel Future is a building block to one of our Top Tier 2.0 strategic objectives, in creating opportunities for career progression. UNLV seeks to be a model employer so we can attract and retain the best talent. Part of this includes having the right approach to defining jobs and managing compensation. Our current practices are complicated, hard to navigate, difficult to update, and do not create clear pathways for advancement for administrative faculty employees. As a result, like many other universities, we are undertaking this study to develop a new, more modern approach.

Compensation practices have developed organically, and our approach no longer aligns to benchmark best-in-class practices.  One example of this is that we have approximately 1,500 administrative faculty positions, many of which have very specific titles and PDQs for each and every job.  This makes it very difficult to compare roles across the university and to our competitors.


A new job classification and compensation system will help the university achieve four goals:

  1. Attract and retain qualified employees
  2. Provide fair salary and stipend structures.
  3. Provide clearer paths for career growth and advancement.
  4. Modernize approaches to procedures and guidelines that enable the university to operate more effectively and efficiently.

Impacted Positions

The study will review and update most administrative faculty positions.

This study will not impact:

  • Executives (deans, vice presidents)
  • Postdoctoral scholars
  • Academic faculty
  • Classified staff
  • Head coaches
  • Temporary employees (letters of appointment, dental and medical residents, temporary hourly, graduate assistants, and student workers)


Rebel Future will examine how the university:

  • Defines and groups administrative faculty positions

  • Assigns business titles in a more consistent manner

  • Determines the appropriate salary or salary range

  • The study draws upon internal information, such as our current position description questionnaires (PDQs) and salary structure, and external information such as salary data and approaches taken by other universities.

The study will produce recommendations for new standardized job descriptions, business titles, salary ranges, compensation strategies, and administration policies and procedures.

Job Classification Architecture​

Job architecture is a series of progressively higher related jobs distinguished by levels of knowledge, skills, abilities (competencies), and other factors. It includes four key components that are tied to each job through a job description, a high-level definition of a job’s purpose, responsibilities, and qualifications.

  • A job designation for a specific category of work and FLSA exemption.
  • Example: Academic faculty, administrative faculty, classified staff, etc., contained within the NSHE Workday system.

  • A broad category of work, parent of UNLV’s job subfamily, that can be logically grouped together by function.
  • Example: Academic Affairs, Business Operations, Student Affairs, Healthcare Professional, etc., contained within the NSHE Workday system.

  • A job family is a group of jobs that involve similar work and require similar training, skills, knowledge, and expertise. A subfamily is a smaller group of jobs within a larger job family
  • Job family groups and job families are determined by NSHE and subfamilies are unique to UNLV.
  • Each job is a part of a subfamily that includes the specialized categories for UNLV (e.g., IT-Security, ​HR-Benefits, etc.).
  • Important Note: UNLV job subfamilies are organized by the type of work, not where positions sit in the organization.

  • A progression of job levels attributed to the fundamental nature of work being performed, providing consistency across job UNLV job subfamilies. 
    • Example 1: Professional contributor
      • Designs, implements, guides, and/or delivers processes, programs, and/or policies using specialized knowledge or skills ​​
      • Typically requires attainment of advanced education (bachelor’s degree) and/or equivalent advanced learning through experience​
    • Example 2: Manager
      • Oversees broad portfolios of responsibility; plan, prioritize, and/or direct responsibilities of employees; and/or manage strategy and policy development for a function, department, or unit​​
      • Typically requires attainment of advanced education (bachelor’s degree) and/or equivalent advanced learning through experience​​
      • Positions in the category typically have multiple direct reports​

  • A categorization of the scope, authority, and responsibility required for a job, differentiated by work dimensions

  • Detail on a job’s complexity, nature of work, scope, degree of responsibility, etc.

Stipend Guidelines

Rebel Future will review our current stipend practices and make recommendations for a formalized structure for administrative faculty. Currently, stipends are reviewed on a case by case basis which is not  an efficient practice. Establishing a stipend structure will provide a seamless review and approval process. Future stipend structure implementation will not impact any stipends employees are currently receiving. 

Market Level Comparisons

Rebel Future will define the university’s market strategy and peer groups. This information will help leadership formulate a compensation philosophy that strives to be competitive and inform how we manage compensation over the long term.

Salary Compression

Salary compression occurs when a new hire earns close to or more than an employee with more responsibility or a longer period of service earns. Individual instances of compression, though, are not part of the study and are addressed through HR and unit leaders on campus when they arise.


The classification and compensation team, along with Huron Consulting, is leading this study. An advisory group will provide input on the process and recommendations. As specific recommendations are developed, campus subject matter experts and governance groups will be invited to provide input.

The advisory group committee members include:

  • Alexandra Nikolich, senior executive director of strategic initiatives for Business Affairs
  • Deb Powell, executive director for Academic Resources
  • Janet Dufek, vice provost of Faculty Affairs
  • John Starkey, senior academic advisor and chair of the Admin Faculty Committee
  • Kyle Kaalberg, executive director, strategy and strategic Initiatives, Office of the President
  • Lori Ciccone, executive director of Research Administration
  • Laurel Pritchard, vice provost for undergraduate education
  • Zhanna Aronov, senior director for operations, Center for Academic Enrichment & Outreach

Huron Consulting

These types of studies frequently utilize external experts who have experience not only with job classification schemes, but also familiarity and access to specialized data sets related to compensation. Assistance from an external firm will help ensure focused attention and the right expertise. UNLV selected Huron through a competitive RFP process as our consulting partner for this study.

Huron has a large practice dedicated to working with colleges and universities. The team assigned to our UNLV study focuses on human resources and talent management in higher education and has worked on other similar studies.

More information about Huron is available on their website.

Huron’s Role

Huron will analyze data, develop drafts of job descriptions, and make recommendations about salary structures and processes. Changes will be informed by that work, but all final decisions will be made by the university in consultation with stakeholders. Any changes will be taken with consideration of university policy and any applicable regulations.

Study Updates

Transparency is a guiding principle for the study and we have a communication plan to create clarity across our workforce and ensure change (if any) to individuals is clear and communicated ahead of time. Emails, UNLV Today updates, virtual meetings, and HR website updates are some of the ways in which we will communicate updates to the university.

As recommendations are developed, we expect to provide informational sessions. Leaders, managers, and employees will have the particulars well in advance of anything being implemented.

As we work through this study, we will update this page. Please direct any questions about this study to rebelfuture@unlv.edu