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Glossary of Terms

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This glossary of terms will help you learn more about staff jobs and compensation at Stanford.


Annual Staff Compensation Program: The formal program designed to advance Stanford's ability to attract and retain top staff talent and provide maximum flexibility to managers in making compensation decisions that reward performance. A review of eligible staff employees' base pay is typically conducted annually. A base pay increase could be recommended and used by an employee's manager to recognize individual performance and address any market, equity or retention concerns.


Base Pay: The salary paid for a job performed.  It does not include any premium pay such as shift differentials, overtime pay, supplemental pay or any pay element other than the base rate.

Benchmark Job: A job commonly found, defined and used to make pay comparisons either within the organization or to comparable jobs outside the organization. Pay data for these jobs are readily available in published market surveys.

Blended Job: A job that encompasses multi-functional responsibility for a combination of different areas that are all important and necessary for the role and typically represent two or more separate jobs (e.g., Financial Analyst and Talent Development Specialist) which are blended in some meaningful ratio to one another.

Bonus: A discretionary, non-base award given to attract, retain, motivate or recognize an individual or group of employees. Types of bonuses:

  • Performance – used to recognize extraordinary performance
  • Retention – used to motivate key employees to remain at the university for a period of time beyond their potential or targeted departure date
  • Sign-On – used to attract a prospective employee to fill a position at the university


Career Path: A series of defined levels within a job series where the nature of the work is traditionally similar (e.g., accounting, event planning) and the levels represent the organization's requirements for increased skill, knowledge and responsibility at different levels of the job family that are performed within the university.

Compensation Philosophy: A philosophy set and adopted by an organization that ensures the compensation program supports the organization’s strategy, culture and the achievement of organizational objectives related to overall compensation of its staff.


Federal and State Wage and Hour Laws: Federal and state laws governing minimum wage, overtime pay, child labor and record-keeping requirements. Contained within these laws are the categories of exempt and non-exempt work. Exempt employees are those whose jobs are not subject to minimum wage or overtime payment provisions of the federal and state wage and hours laws. Non-exempt employees are those whose jobs are subject to the overtime pay provision of federal and state wage and hour laws.


Incentive Bonus Program: A non-base award for the accomplishment of specific results over a specified time frame. Payout of the incentive award is conditional upon the employee meeting expectations communicated in writing at the beginning of a project or performance cycle.


Job: The total collection of tasks, duties and responsibilities assigned to one or more individuals whose work has the same nature and level of work.

Job Classification Level: The assignment of a job to a specific grade based on the market rate for Stanford’s jobs in the external labor market.

Job Code: A four-digit number that identifies each job.

Job Description: A summary of the important features of a job, including the specific nature of the work performed (core duties and responsibilities) and level (skills, education and experience).  A job description describes the discrete, measurable, and specific duties and responsibilities of the job, the knowledge, skills, education, experience and other qualifications required to perform the job.  The Job Description focuses on the job itself and not on any specific individual who might fill the job.  The Job Description serves as a basis for establishing the performance expectations for the job as well as annual key objectives and development goals for an employee in the job. 

Job Description Library: Online library that includes job descriptions for non-academic and non-bargaining staff positions searchable by keywords and/or Job Family (e.g., Finance), and Job Series (e.g, Financial Analyst), and available in the Axess portal.

Job Family: A major grouping of professionally related jobs serving a common purpose and nature of work (e.g., Administration, Communications, Finance).  Each Job Family includes one or more job series (e.g., the Finance family includes Accounting, Payroll, Financial Planning, Financial Analysis, and Finance and Research Administration)

Job Market Range: The range of pay in the external market for a job based on the aggregate, representative market data from Salary Surveys, typically representative of more than 85% of incumbents in a job across the external comparator market and geographic area reported as the 25th, 50th and 75th percentile of the market.

Job Series: A grouping of jobs having the same nature of work (e.g., Student Services) but requiring different levels of skill and responsibility (e.g., entry-level vs. senior level). 


Market Analysis: An annual process conducted each fall by the University Human Resources Staff Compensation Team to analyze job trends and salary levels/rates paid in the market. Market data reflect the geographic regions and the types of industries from which we recruit. These may include for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, local and national organizations, and higher education institutions as well as general industry firms. Results of the market analysis process are used to make an annual recommendation for the wage growth budget for Stanford’s Staff Compensation Program.

Market Pricing: Relative to compensation, the technique of establishing market pay for a job through matching the essential duties, responsibilities and qualifications of a job. The objective of the process is to capture the market value of, and the range of, pay for a very large percentage of jobs encompassing most incumbents of the job  paid in the relevant external market.


N11/N99 Position: A senior staff, officer or executive staff position in an unbounded job market range (i.e. the job market range has a minimum but no established maximum pay rate) for which base and total compensation are reviewed and consulted on with an outside third party subject matter expert. Senior staff positions are assigned to the N11 level. Officers and executive staff positions are assigned to the N99 level.  Separate and specific processes exist to conduct reviews for these levels of positions.

Non-Academic Staff Hiring Pay Range: The non-academic staff hiring pay ranges are established by UHR Staff Compensation according to market-based pay methodology and are required to be included in job postings.  These ranges should also be used by HR when answering questions from employees about their base pay.


Salary Range: The range of pay rates, from minimum to maximum, established for a specific grade for the geographic region in which the work is performed. Typically used to set individual employee base salary rates, the range reflects the competitive lower and upper bounds of pay for jobs within a particular grade.

Salary Structure: The array and hierarchy of grades and the associated salary ranges for the geographic region in which the work is performed. 

Salary Survey: The gathering, market matching, participating in submission of data, summarizing and analysis of relevant market data on compensation paid by other employers in a comparator industry and geographic market for Benchmark Jobs. Salary surveys are used to establish or price a job’s Market Range, analyze pay-related concerns, and/or adjust job pay levels in response to external competitive pay changes. (Salary Survey data is aggregated, verified and published by independent third parties organizations to the benefit of all employers submitting and participating in the Salary Survey, while maintaining legal compliance in data sharing and the confidentiality of the participating employers.)


Total Compensation: The complete pay, benefits and rewards package for employees, including all forms of salary, bonuses, benefits, perquisites and value of services provided annually to an employee.Your personalized Total Compensation Statement displays your pay as well as benefits.