3.0 Staff Salary Compensation

Policy 3.0

Compensation Philosophy

Berklee recognizes that competitive compensation is the cornerstone for recruiting, retaining, and motivating the type of employees needed to fulfill Berklee's educational mission. To be the world's leading institute of contemporary music and the performing arts, Berklee needs world-class faculty and staff. To this end, Berklee's compensation policy is to pay all categories of employees at competitive levels established by the external labor markets, considering both salary and benefits as a total compensation package.

In order to recruit and retain the highest caliber of staff, Berklee delivers a staff compensation package that is fair and equitable according to comparable markets. A comprehensive and competitive compensation program has been established to ensure the recruitment and retention of qualified employees. The Human Resources Department works diligently to maintain the compensation system, to conduct comparable market studies, and to develop new practices to continuously improve the program.


Berklee recognizes that in the course of meeting organization objectives, the duties and responsibilities of a staff member may change in complexity and responsibility. Promotions occur because of upward movement to a job with greater responsibility at a higher level or grade. Promotions also serve as an incentive, enhance morale, and create a sense of individual achievement and recognition. While good performance is one factor in determining eligibility for a promotion, it should not be the sole factor for recommending someone for a promotion. Significant changes in responsibilities must occur for a promotion to be considered. Promotions can occur for the following reasons:

  • Reclassification of the individual’s existing position as a result of the individual performing duties that are broader in scope than the current classification calls for. This requires consultation with Human Resources and approval by your area vice president. For positions at the level of vice president and above, this requires review and approval by the vice president of Human Resources and the senior vice president of Administration and Finance prior to final review and approval by the President.
  • The filling of an existing higher level vacancy by an individual at a lower grade. Vacancies must satisfy all Berklee polices, including meeting all internal and external posting requirements.

For staff-level promotions within the same job category and department, managers should consult with their Human Resources business partner.


All staff that have successfully completed their provisionary period and completed a minimum of 12 months in their current position are eligible for promotion.

All staff must be in good performance standing at the time of promotion. Any staff member who is experiencing performance and/or conduct-related matters is ineligible for promotion until the problem is resolved, typically six months following any form of corrective action.

Promotion to a leadership/managerial position requires a demonstrated commitment to professional development, including completion of professional development seminars. Additionally, ongoing leadership development is expected through active participation in professional development courses within one year of promotion.


  • Ensure there is an accurate and up-to-date job description when an employee is being considered for a promotion.
  • Where required, ensure that all posting requirements have been satisfied. 
  • Where required, obtain approval from the designated senior administrator to ensure that established procedures are followed.
  • Consult your Human Resources business partner (login required) for guidance in making an informed decision before discussing any position or a salary change with an employee.
  • Compare the employee's current salary to the salaries of those in their new peer group. An increase may or may not be appropriate, based on internal equity.

Promotional Salary Adjustment Guidelines

The amount of the promotional increase will be based on the following:

  • The promoted employee’s current salary in relation to the new salary range
  • The individual’s qualifications to perform the new position
  • The salary, experience level, and performance level of other employees with the same or similar position

The promoted employee’s new salary should be at least at the minimum of the new salary range. Note the following:

  • Promotional increases are typically between 0 and 8 percent for promotions up to one grade with an additional 0–5 percent for each additional grade.
  • A promotional increase must bring the employee to at least the minimum of their new pay level or range.
  • The effective date of a promotion should coincide with the employee taking on increased responsibilities as well as the beginning of a payroll period.

Budgetary Considerations

Managers should be conscious of the challenges of managing a budget as it relates to compensation. Budget resources need to be considered with all compensation decisions. While budget dollars will be allocated specifically for promotions, managers should work closely with Human Resources and the Budget Office to weigh the available resources against the factors of range placement. Additionally, pay equity and promotional funds allocation must always be considered, especially as they relate to underrepresented populations.  Berklee is committed to ensuring that minorities and women are not adversely impacted by salary decisions. For specific information and guidance, you should contact your Human Resources business partner.                 

If an employee has acquired new skills or their responsibilities have increased within their current job, but not significantly enough to warrant a grade or level change, options other than promotion exist.

Temporary Increases

A temporary increase represents additional compensation for a staff member who has temporarily assumed major responsibility for, and performance of, a higher level job. The need for a temporary increase typically occurs due to a vacancy or an extended leave of absence. This assumed responsibility is usually in addition to the staff member’s primary job responsibilities and typically reflects the assumption of the additional job's principal responsibilities and/or critical functions.


  • Where required, obtain approval from the designated vice president and Human Resources business partners to ensure that established procedures within a department are followed.
  • Consult with your Human Resources business partner (login required) for guidance in making an informed decision before discussing any salary change with a staff member.
  • Review the guidelines and key considerations below in determining whether a temporary increase is appropriate.

Guidelines and Key Considerations

  • The amount of the increase should be between 5 and 10 percent, depending on the degree of complexity of the additional responsibilities and the length of time the staff member is expected to assume the additional responsibilities.
  • Generally, a temporary increase will be paid by stipend to the staff member and will be in addition to their current salary. The stipend will be paid biweekly for the length of time that the employee is assuming additional responsibilities.
  • Temporary increases must have a specified beginning and end date, and are not intended to cover periods of less than four weeks.
  • When considering a temporary increase for an employee, it is important to begin the process before the employee actually takes on the additional temporary responsibilities.

Salary Review Process

Although employees do not have established earning limits, jobs at Berklee do have limits in terms of their minimum and maximum market value. Education, experience, performance, and proficiency drive where an individual employee should generally fall with a range.

Generally, an employee who meets minimum requirements and is at or near minimum qualifications would be paid at or near range minimum. On the other hand, an employee with significant experience and expertise in a position who has a fully satisfactory performance record should be paid in the upper portion of the range. The midpoint (middle) of the range is designed for an employee who has developed to be fully proficient at the given job.

The objective of a salary review is to assess and appropriately compensate each individual, recognizing unique differences while maintaining internal pay relationships with others. External market data is considered when available.

A salary increase is a permanent increase to the base salary that may be granted to an employee under certain circumstances including the following:

  • A significant salary lag to comparable internal positions
  • The local labor market, based on external salary surveys
  • Incumbents with a minimum of three years of service with compa-ratios* below 80 percent

*The compa-ratio is a mechanism used to measure the position to the market medium. The compa-ratio is calculated by dividing the annual salary into the midpoint of the salary grade. A commonly accepted compa-ratio is a range from 80 to 120 percent, based on years of experience, expertise in the field, and overall competency.

Salary grades are located at the following link: berklee.edu/human-resources/compensation.

Salary reviews occur upon hire in order to set salary and when transfers or promotions occur, and are ongoing in relation to women and minority groups.

Salary Review for Women and Minorities

All salaries, including those of women and minorities, should be commensurate with responsibilities, requirements, experience, and performance. The salaries of women and minorities should be reviewed to ensure that they are equitable to others in the organization with similar responsibilities, experience, expertise, and level of performance. If salary inequities are identified, they should be brought to the attention of the vice president of Human Resources so they can be reviewed separately and, where appropriate, adjusted.

Market Adjustment

Market adjustments may occur when a significant difference between the employee’s current salary and a higher targeted or projected salary for a position with the same responsibilities has been identified through an external market analysis. These adjustments may be a result of volatile labor market conditions for designated positions.

Adjustments may also occur when a position has significant changes in role and responsibilities, but does not warrant a promotion. 

The vice president of Human Resources and the appropriate area vice president will approve all salary adjustments.

Recognition and Incentive Awards

Vice presidents are assigned a designated bonus pool for recognizing employees that have exhibited extraordinary contributions. Such awards may be recommended by the director or manager, and must be approved by the vice president.

Berklee reserves the right to amend, suspend, or cancel this policy at any time, with or without notice. In the event that a conflict exists between this policy and the terms and conditions of the Berklee faculty union contract agreement, the union contract agreement will supersede this policy.

Annual Increases

If Berklee, in its sole discretion, grants an annual salary increase, all staff, with the exception of those on formal corrective action, are eligible to receive an annual percentage increase to their salary. The decision to grant an annual increase and the percent of the annual increase are determined by the administration after reviewing external and internal factors.

Berklee reserves the right to amend, suspend, or cancel this policy at any time, with or without notice. In the event that a conflict exists between this policy and the terms and conditions of the Berklee faculty union contract agreement, the union contract agreement will supersede this policy.


December 2018