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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is career tracks?

Career Tracks is a systemwide classification structure that applies across all UC campuses and locations. UCLA began implementing the Career Tracks project in phases starting in 2018. It is expected that the project will be fully completed in 2021.

2. Why is Career Tracks being implemented?

UC’s current classification system has become outdated. Career Tracks will more accurately reflect current job duties, organized within job families and functions. This new structure will set the foundation for a more transparent classification and career planning process going forward and allow us to better align our jobs to the external labor market.

3. How will Career Tracks affect employees?

Each staff employee will be assigned a new payroll title that is part of a designated job family, job function, category and level. Current responsibilities, working or business title and compensation will not change.

4. Within job families and functions, there are categories of jobs and career levels in the new job structure. What do those terms mean?

The terms distinguish the work that people perform. By looking at the differences in scope and responsibility among jobs, we can describe each job more accurately in relation to other jobs.

  • The family is a group of jobs that involve work in the same general occupation. These jobs have related knowledge requirements, skill sets and abilities. Finance is an example of a family. It is a general way to organize job functions into bigger groups to ease searching through the numerous job functions available.
  • The function is a more specialized area within a family. In a function, the same or relatively similar work is performed, a similar skill set is required, and it is possible to move within the function with minimal training. For example, Purchasing is a function within the Finance family.
  • The category defines the type of work performed, as opposed to the occupation or subject matter. The three categories are: 1) Operational & Technical, 2) Professional and 3) Supervisory & Management. A job function can include more than one type of work, so within Purchasing, you could have jobs in both professional and supervisory & management categories.
  • The career level reflects a job's level of responsibility, impact and scope. We have determined the appropriate number of levels within each category per job function by looking at market survey data and working with subject matter experts for that family and function. For example, an Applications Programmer in the Professional job category could be a level 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 professional. In the Supervisory and Management category, there are six possible levels. Establishing the appropriate number of levels by category facilitates comparison of UC jobs with similar jobs in market salary surveys. At the same time, not all functions will require the full number of levels. The number of levels in the Career Tracks job structure for each function reflects how the work is currently organized at UC.

5. What if a Job Standard does not fully represent an individual’s job duties?

The “boiler-plate” or generic job standards rarely reflect the unique work each individual may be asked to perform as part of his or her regular responsibilities. The work performed by an individual reflects the organization’s goals and structure. The goal is to place the position in a Career Tracks job title that captures at least 50 to 60 percent of the predominant duties for a given position. Supervisors and managers can use the job standards as a starting point to develop customized position descriptions that reflect the individual’s unique responsibilities, yet still align to the job standards for all UC staff in that job.

6. Will working titles change as a result of Career Tracks?

No. Career Tracks only changes payroll titles. Employees may still use the current working titles of coordinator, assistant director, director, etc., as appropriate.

7. Will job duties change as a result of Career Tracks?

No. Actual job duties and expectations will not change. Employees will be assigned a job title in the new Career Tracks structure that best fits the current job/role performed.

8. Will my pay change as a result of Career Tracks?

No, there will be no immediate impact to pay (either upward or downward), although the new classification system will provide a better foundation for determining appropriate market-based salaries in the future. 

9. Will staff be able to review the classification change before it goes into effect, and how will they be informed?

Employees’ supervisor or manager will give them individual notices informing them of their new title codes, job standards and pay grades prior to implementation in the payroll system. Managers will be notified prior to general employee communications.

10. Will employees receive new updated job descriptions?

New job descriptions are not required to transition to the Career Tracks job structure, although managers and employees can begin to use the new job database to create customized job descriptions as needed.

Salary administration

11. Why is matching jobs to market so important?

University pay programs must be sensitive to the wider labor market because we compete with other employers (both private and public) for the best talent. Linking our jobs to similar jobs in the market and to salary ranges based on market pay, enables us to better understand and administer employment and compensation programs.

12. How can higher education professions be compared to the outside market?

We rely on a number of reputable third-party market salary surveys to link our jobs to the labor market, which is made up of public, private and higher education employers. Many of us perform roles that exist at all types of employers, not just UC (example: Human Resources Generalist or Financial Analyst). For jobs that are unique to higher education, we participate in two well-known surveys that specialize in educational institutions. Because we also compete with public and private organizations, our survey data will also include market salary information gathered from general industry.

13. What do the salary grade ranges represent?

Salary grade ranges are a proxy for the range of competitive pay levels in the marketplace for your job.

14. Will my pay change with my new job title?

Employee pay will not change, but a new salary structure provides better guidance for future pay decisions.

15. How often will the salary ranges be reviewed and possibly changed?

UC generally gathers and reviews competitive pay information from third-party professional salary surveys on an annual basis. Updates to salary ranges are made as appropriate to ensure alignment with labor market pay levels.

16. What other employers are considered part of our “labor market?”

All types of employers—private, public, and higher education—are part of the labor market depending on the particular job. Generally, the market is defined by the organizations with whom UC competes for employee talent.

17. How do you gather pay information from other employers?

Pay data is collected in different ways. A primary source is salary surveys. UC, as well as many other public and private organizations participate in third-party salary surveys. Each participating organization reports pay data for its employees anonymously for the jobs described in the survey and the results are then consolidated and reported in a manner that keeps each organization’s data confidential.

Mapping to a new job structure

18. What does it mean to be “mapped” to the new job structure?

“Mapping” is the process of moving a job from the current classification/job title into a new job title that is part of a designated job family and function.

19. Many individuals wear multiple hats. How will positions that incorporate duties from multiple job functions be handled?

The major duties of a given job, (i.e. the reason the position exists), determine how it is mapped to a new job function. Positions that are multifunctional should be mapped to the job function that constitutes more than 50 percent of the job. If not a single component of the job is 50 percent or more, the job function that has the greatest percentage of duties, or the function that would be emphasized during recruiting should be used. In some cases, a multifunctional job function, such as Administrative Operations within the General Administration family, can be selected for mapping.

20. Is there detailed information individuals can review to compare their job duties to the job function they are mapped to?

Yes, the Career Tracks website has links to Career Tracks job function descriptions, job categories and levels. Job standards represent generic descriptions of each Career Tracks job title. Going forward, job standards can be customized to develop an individual employee’s job description.

21. How did managers and supervisors participate in the mapping process?

Compensation Services in Campus Human Resources made preliminary job mapping recommendations based on a review of each employee’s existing job description (JA), where available. This preliminary work was done to assist unit leaders and managers with the task of reviewing and refining the recommended new job title for each employee.

Designated managers and HR representatives also reviewed current job responsibilities and expectations for each employee in preparation for confirming the new job title in the Career Tracks structure.

22. Is there an overview describing each job level in the new job structure?

For a description of each professional, supervisory and management job level, see the “Categories and Levels” section for more information.