SFU and APSA continue to collaborate on the salary component of total compensation

June 14, 2021

The 2021 Joint Compensation Review Committee (JCRC) has been meeting regularly to come to agreement on a few items, including the presentation and content of a market survey that was conducted in 2018; recommendations for a job evaluation appeals process, and the training content to support leaders who write job descriptions for APSA positions. We are also working with strategic business partners and leaders to review and update job descriptions that were last updated prior to 2016 where required.

Progress has been steady on this work, with collaboration and compromise resulting in agreement on a number of items, and one item going to a meditator for a decision. Below is an update on the committee’s work on its deliverables to date.

1.       Market Survey Content Review

The 2021 JCRC has come to agreement on many components related to how the survey data is presented and analyzed by the HR consulting firm Mercer.

Where we would like a decision from a mediator is around which data sets should be included for analysis in the market survey report. The parameters for data collection in the 2018 survey were defined by Mercer using the industry standard for the “job rate” (the point in the salary range that an incumbent can expect to progress to over time with continued service; the top step in a step-based range). Discussions about whether this definition should be changed now, and whether participants from other organization provided inputs based on Mercer’s definition of job rate were inconclusive, and as the committee’s mandate is to agree on how the data will be presented and used by SFU not to change or recollect the data it contains, we have asked the mediator to decide whether we continue with the industry standard (Mercer definition) or include an additional data set. A response is expected by the end of June.

An explanation of SFU’s approach to salary progression and step-based compensation can be found here.

2.       Appeal Process Recommendation

The committee also discussed requirements for a job evaluation appeals process and drafted a recommendation for the questions that organizational consultants Korn Ferry Hay Group (KFHG) will use in their survey of comparable organizations (currently in progress). Once completed, the committee will review results and prepare a joint recommendation to be included in the September 1, 2021 report.

Note that job evaluations and re-evaluations can be conducted at any time by contacting your HR Strategic Business Partner. Find out more about SFU’s job evaluation and appeal (re-evaluation) process here.

3.       Training Content Recommendation

KFHG shared recommended content for an in-house training program to support SFU leaders in writing job descriptions for APSA positions. The committee will prepare a joint recommendation to be included in the September report.

4.       Older Job Descriptions

The committee is reviewing the list of job descriptions to be included for this work. In parallel to this discussion, the committee has agreed to begin with job descriptions at Grade 7 and below as a starting point, and HR is now working with the relevant leaders to review and where required, update the job descriptions that were last updated prior to 2016.

Note that employees and leaders don’t have to wait for their HR Strategic Business Partner to reach out – if a job description needs to be updated, it can be submitted to Compensation for review at any time.

Priority will be given to evaluating job descriptions that are required to support business needs, and as such, those requiring evaluation for a job posting, a reorganization or an occupied re-evaluation will take precedence over those in the general queue.


The 2021 JCRC is on track to meet its commitment to deliver the agreed-upon report and recommendations by September 1, 2021 (assuming a timely response from the mediator), and looks forward to finalizing the salary component of a total compensation package that fosters excellence and accountability, employee engagement and the ability to attract and retain the best diverse and inclusive talent for Canada’s engaged university. 

Additional Information

For information about the job evaluation process, please contact your HR Strategic Business Partner.

For information about the mediated agreement or other labour relations items, please contact Labour Relations: lr_team@sfu.ca.