Market Referenced Job Evaluation Program


The Lehigh All Staff Employment Rewards (LASER) Program for exempt and nonexempt staff is designed to support the Staff Employment Value Strategy (SEVS) by clarifying job responsibilities and expectations, enabling Lehigh to offer competitive salaries, implementing consistent pay guidelines, providing managers with tools to reward staff, and support personal, professional, and career development opportunities.

Lehigh uses what is known as a market-referenced job evaluation process to evaluate positions. This system takes a holistic approach that is based on the market and is responsive to Lehigh's distinctive needs. It provides a link to outside employers with whom we compete for talent while also focusing internally on factors that help differentiate jobs appropriately. For more detail on the history and implementation of job evaluation program, view the Lehigh University Market-Referenced Job Evaluation Program for Staff Positions brochure.

In broad strokes, the program is designed to address two basic questions:

  • How to pay for the job (regardless of who's in the position)
  • How to pay for the particular individual in the job.

Paying for the job involves defining the appropriate market, "matching" the job with other jobs that are in the appropriate market, establishing a salary structure, and assigning the job to a salary grade within the structure. Each grade is associated with a salary range but the actual amount to be paid to any given individual, which can be the range minimum, maximum, or any amount in-between, is determined by factors such as the individual's skills, knowledge, experience, and performance.

Defining the Markets:

The market refers to the external peer institutions/universities and other employers that Lehigh uses when comparing our compensation levels to determine if they are competitive. There are numerous markets in which Lehigh competes for talented staff and the market varies by the type of job being evaluated. The following is a summary of the markets identified for use in the job evaluation program:

Competitive Assessment - Comparison Markets

Organizational Area/Level

Senior Administrators - classified and


  • Lehigh Peer Group
Non-Faculty Associate Deans/Assistant Deans/Directors
  • Discipline specific
  • National peer group for doctoral institutions
Entry-Level Professionals
  • Starting rates from quality academic institutions
Non-Faculty Engineers, Engineering Technicians, Laboratory Technicians
  • Local and regional employers
General Administration
  • For education-specific jobs: regional institutions with graduate programs
  • For non-education specific professionals: local/regional general industry
Nonexempt and Trade Positions
  • Local area (Lehigh Valley)
Technical Support Positions
  • Local area (Lehigh Valley) and regional (Mid-Atlantic/New England states)

Benchmark Jobs:

A benchmark job is one that has a standard and consistent set of responsibilities from one organization to another and for which data is available in valid and reliable salary surveys.

To classify a benchmark job, data is compiled from appropriate salary surveys to determine the median salary rate for the job. The job is then "slotted" into the salary grade with a grade midpoint that is closest to the median salary reported in the surveys.

Nonbenchmark Jobs:

Nonbenchmark jobs are those for which valid and reliable salary survey data is not available. They may be jobs that are unique to our organization. Or, they could be jobs that are simply not included in published surveys.

To determine the salary grade for a non-benchmark job at Lehigh, we follow a methodical approach that includes these steps:

  • Assign the position to one of Lehigh's job families
  • Compare non-benchmark jobs to benchmark jobs within the same job family based on factors important to that job family (skill requirements, management responsibilities, educational requirements, decision-making responsibilities, etc.)

Job Families:

A job family is a group of jobs in which the work performed is of a similar nature. Job families are used for comparing skills and responsibilities of similar jobs for the purpose of determining salary ranges for non-benchmark jobs. For instance, a non-benchmark Finance/Accounting job in the Development Office would be compared to other University benchmark jobs in the Finance/Accounting family, rather than to jobs in the Development job family.

For a complete list of job families at Lehigh, go to Job Family.

©2007 Human Resources, Lehigh University, 428 Brodhead Ave., Bethlehem, PA 18015
Tel (610) 758-3900 Fax (610) 758-6226