Reassessing jobs could go astray

The reclassification of jobs will raise the wages of employees making less than market value.

The University of Minnesota is reassessing many of its jobs to increase transparency as well as wages, the Minnesota Daily reported last week. The massive job reclassification study is being carried out by the University Office of Human Resources and Sibson Consulting.

Unlike a similar reclassification in the Office of Information Technology last year, this latest study seems aimed at bringing employee pay in line with market rates, rather than saving the University money. Thankfully, “operational excellence” is nowhere to be found.

The University plans to increase pay for staff earning below market level, and it plans to cut salaries above it only if the market doesn’t catch up in three years. It’s a smart move and a good use of the nearly half-million dollars the University is expected to pay in raises.

We’re especially pleased the reclassification will better define how many administrators are employed by the University, which has been a point of contention since at least late 2012. As the University has come under fire for administrative spending in the past year, the school has insisted that prior analyses have included improperly classified non-admin employees. Sibson’s involvement will hopefully clear up that issue once and for all.

Bringing in a consultant will also be fairer to staff overall. When the University did the same reclassification for OIT last May, employees complained that their new job titles were inappropriate for their qualifications or previous work. That jobs study also had seemingly ill-defined strategies for salary adjustment.

This isn’t to say the remaining job reclassifications are without concerns. There’s already been some hand-wringing over union membership, for example. However, we’re cautiously optimistic about the study overall.