Career Tracks is a UC systemwide initiative to review and develop common job standards for classifying policy-covered staff positions. It aims to promote a better understanding of job duties and align more closely with practices in the labor market.
Costs of living and labor
How will the Career Tracks program address differences in cost of living?
Cost of living varies significantly within the state of California. For example, the cost of living in San Francisco is twice the national average for the rest of the country for key components that make up this index (housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, health care and other goods and services). Most of us consider cost of living as well as desired amenities and other factors when making personal decisions about our desired community. However, cost of living is not used to determine salary guidelines.
It is a best practice for employers, including UC, to consider differences in cost of labor (comprised of wages, payroll and other taxes, and cost of benefits) when establishing salary guidelines. Cost of labor is a direct indicator of pay levels by city/county relative to the national average. Cost of labor data is provided by very reputable and broad-based third-party consultants to support this approach.
How will Career Tracks reflect local or regional differences in cost of labor?
We can compare Career Tracks job titles to the external labor market, taking into account the fact that most roles performed at UC also exist at other employers. This alignment is valuable to employees on an individual basis because it lends relevance not only to internal career paths but also aligns UC jobs with the external marketplace.
The Career Tracks grade structure is adjusted to reflect the local labor market for each location that has adopted Career Tracks (Berkeley, Merced, UCOP, and Agriculture and Natural Resources). For example, Berkeley and Oakland share the same labor market, and also share a similar grade structure. Merced, while having many of the same job titles, does not share the same cost of labor as the central Bay Area. The Merced cost of labor is much closer to the national average. Therefore, their structure is aligned with the national cost of labor for comparable job titles.
How will differences in cost of labor be addressed for locations transitioning to Career Tracks?
The uniform Career Tracks grade structure will be adjusted to reflect the local labor market for each location within the state. Locations that share a similar labor market based on geographic proximity (or comparable cost of labor) will utilize a similar grade structure.
Templates and standards
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Job Templates and Standards (requires login to download files)