Type of Policy
Policy No
Effective Date
Last Revised
Review Date
Policy Owner
Human Resources
Contact Name
Cedric Franklin
Contact Title
Interim Senior HR Director - Payroll and Total Rewards
Contact Email
Reason for Policy

Georgia Tech's commitment to providing a competitive staff compensation program that will attract, retain, motivate, and reward a qualified, diverse workforce at all levels. This Policy is not a contract, express or implied, between any employee and Georgia Tech.

Policy Statement

Georgia Tech strives to ensure that compensation decisions are made as objectively as possible without consideration of a person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. Employee compensation administration will be supported by reliable market data, internal equity reviews, and performance evaluations. Implementation of this Policy depends on availability of funds.

General Considerations for All Compensation Actions
Salary and wage adjustments will be awarded to employees at Georgia Tech:

  • upon promotion to a higher level position,
  • upon reclassification to a higher level position,
  • when an equity, market or administrative adjustment is deemed necessary.

Any merit increase will be developed in conjunction with the University System of Georgia (USG) and in compliance with USG's guidance. Equity and market adjustments may also be developed in conjunction with the budget development process. For all compensation and Pay Grade changes, the unit Human Resources representative and department supervisor will collaborate to develop an appropriate salary recommendation, based on factors such as an employee's skill, knowledge, experience, and performance, criticality of the role, budget, and market data. All adjustments are contingent upon available funding and must be developed in consultation with the unit’s Human Resource representative and GTHR Compensation.

Communicating Compensation Adjustments
Supervisors must not commit to any change in salary or compensation of an employee without appropriate approval. Georgia Tech is not bound to any agreement made by a supervisor who has not obtained proper approvals.

Maximum Salary Administration
All Georgia Tech departments must adhere to the USG Maximum Salary Administration guidelines in all compensation actions.

Incentive Programs
Georgia Tech may establish incentive compensation programs consistent with state law, USG Policy, and applicable procedures. Any institutional incentive compensation programs must be reviewed and approved by the USG’s Office of Fiscal Affairs and GTHR before implementation.

Starting Compensation
Starting salaries for external hires are determined based on the applicant’s prior experience, skills, or education, directly compared to other employees that are similarly situated at Georgia Tech. For starting compensation purposes, external hires include transfers from other USG institutions. Temporary and student workers transitioning to a regular staff position will be subject to salary increase administration rules for current employees.

Starting salaries for Internal and External hires must be no less than the minimum salary of the Pay Grade for the position into which they have been hired.

Merit Adjustments
Georgia Tech’s compensation programs are designed to recognize, and reward staff members based on individual performance. Merit increases are typically authorized at the beginning of a fiscal year and are subject to salary limitations and guidelines established each fiscal year. Increases reflect each employee’s performance as evaluated by their supervisor and will be distributed around the average percentage increase determined by the USG.

Promotion or Reclassification Increases
Promotions may occur as a result of reclassification, reorganization, or through competitive recruitment. When an employee is promoted or reclassified to a position in a higher Pay Grade, the employee will normally be awarded a promotional or reclassification increase. Determination of the amount of the increase will consider relevant factors such as internal compensation equity, the respective unit's budget, and the individual’s qualifications and experience for the position.

Increased compensation may not exceed the new Pay Grade compensation range maximum.

Newly promoted or hired employees are ineligible for a subsequent promotion or a lateral move (unless within their own unit) until completion of one year of continuous service in that position. Exceptions to this include, but are not limited to:

  • The individual’s current work is to be curtailed.
  • All applicants or candidates with at least one year of service have been considered and rejected for the position.
  • The leaders of two units agree to a transition for the benefit of Georgia Tech.

Other exceptions may be granted by the Sr. Director - Total Rewards in review with the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO).


If the demotion is voluntary (e.g., applying to a job in a lower grade), and the employee’s current salary is within the new salary range, no salary change is necessary. If the current salary of an employee is more than the new position's maximum salary, their salary will be decreased to no more than the maximum salary for the new job on the effective date of the new job.

If the demotion is involuntary, and the employee’s salary is more the new position's maximum salary, the salary shall be immediately decreased to a level within the salary range of the new grade. Involuntary demotions can also occur when a job is reassigned to a new Pay Grade due to a reorganization. Responsibilities, internal equity, and budgetary considerations will be considered and may result in a salary placed lower in the new position's Pay Grade due to a reorganization. In these instances, the individual's salary may initially remain the same, but must be adjusted to conform to the Pay Grade of the new job within one (1) year.

Equity and Market-Based Salary Adjustments
Official Georgia Tech sanctioned salary survey data and the employee’s personnel record, experience, and credentials will be reviewed by GTHR Compensation. Rationales for considering an Equity and/or market adjustment include:

  • Alignment between the salaries of similarly situated employees performing work at the same family, sub-family, career stream and career level, with similar levels of experience, background, and performance;
  • Alignment between the salaries of a supervisor and their direct reports;
  • Relationship between the salaries of existing employees and the relevant market. Any adjustment that is given to bring employees in line with the external market is subject to internal equity. Adjustments will not be made if differences are explainable based on qualifications, type or length of experience (both internal and external to the Georgia Tech), the work itself, and/or performance and productivity.

Administrative Adjustments
In order to correct an administrative oversight, and subject to funding availability, the AVP – Human Resources or their designee may approve an in-range adjustment to an employee’s rate of compensation.

Retention of Employees
Counteroffers from Georgia Tech should be rare, and in all cases, will require prior approval of the Vice Provost, Vice President, Dean, or higher (depending upon circumstance) and the AVP of Human Resources or their designee.

Internal Offer and Counteroffer:

  • The employee's current unit has discretionary authority to make a counteroffer up to the hiring department's salary offer for a similar level role.
  • Neither the employee's current department nor the hiring department can offer more than the hiring department's original salary offer.

External Offer and Counteroffer:

  • Employee’s current Georgia Tech department, in consultation with GTHR, will determine if a counteroffer will be made following receipt of a signed offer letter or email from an authorized representative of the potential external employer.
  • No counteroffer may exceed the amount of the external offer.
  • No counteroffer may be made prior to written approval from GTHR.
  • The current Georgia Tech department can negotiate with the individual, offering up to the amount approved by GTHR.
  • If the external offer changes, the department must follow the same process for approval of salary rate described above.

Supplemental Compensation
For information regarding Supplemental Compensation, refer to the Georgia Tech Service Now Human Resources Knowledge Base.

Lateral transfers may require a pay adjustment to achieve internal equity. Otherwise, no compensation increase is necessary. Increases will be capped at the Pay Grade salary range maximum. The transfer of an employee from a position at one institution within USG to a position at another USG institution or to or from the University System Office is an external transfer. Since USG institutional compensation practices may differ due to market conditions, the transfer may be to a position at a different compensation range.  For compensation purposes, the external transfer is considered an external hire. Additional Human Resources policies regarding external transfers may apply (see Section 10 for related policies).

Timing of Compensation Adjustments
No commitments regarding the effective date for compensation adjustments shall be made to employees until authorization is received from the appropriate department budget official and GTHR. All requests should be submitted and processed in advance of the effective hire date or status change date.  In all cases, the required adjustment should be effective with the beginning of the next compensation period after written authorization has been received. Retroactive compensation adjustments impose significant risk and costs within Georgia Tech and USG. Retroactive adjustments in funding sources (which do not impact compensation rates or classifications) are not prohibited.

Additional compensation information can be found at Georgia Tech Human Resources Compensation website, and the Georgia Tech Service Now Human Resources Knowledge Base


This policy applies to all staff employees at Georgia Tech. This policy does not apply to academic faculty, research faculty, affiliates, or temporary employees.

Policy Terms


A shift of an employee to a lower Pay Grade, rank, class, or position.

Internal Equity

Internal Equity exists when employees at an organization are being rewarded according to the relative value of their jobs.

Market Adjustments

Market Adjustments are salary adjustments for an employee or group of employees that have fallen behind in base salary as compared to similar positions on campus and/or in the external market.

Merit Any merit-based salary increase reflects each employee's performance as evaluated by their supervisor. Each year, the USG Office of Fiscal Affairs issues a salary administration statement that provides guidelines for awarding salary increases for that fiscal year. Merit increases are normally authorized at the beginning of a fiscal year and are subject to salary limitations and guidelines established each fiscal year.

Pay Grade

Georgia Tech groups jobs with similar external value in to Pay Grades. Within the Pay Grade there are compensation ranges and tiers that reflect the minimum and maximum pay.  All salaries will be capped at the compensation range maximum.


A Promotion is the elevation of an employee to a new position, with essential responsibilities that are significantly greater than the employee's current position, and a higher Pay Grade.


A change in a role that results in the employee and/or position being assigned to a different job title and job code.


VP Human Resources
The VP – Human resources is responsible for guidance to management on application of this policy; ensuring that appropriate processes and Institute level policy are in place to facilitate fair and equitable evaluations of requests to extend offers above the minimum of a salary range; and ensuring requests are evaluated and administered in accordance with USG and GT policies and applicable federal and state laws.

GTHR Compensation Department
GTHR’s Compensation team is responsible for monitoring consistent application and interpretation of this policy, and ensures appropriate approvals are received in compliance with USG Policies and Human Resources Administrative Practice (HRAP) Manual.

Supervisors are responsible for seeking approval from unit Human Resources representatives and/or GTHR for all compensation adjustments. Supervisors may not make any offer to an employee or prospective employee without prior approval from GTHR.

Policy History

Revision Date



08/2023 Human Resources Updated policy to align with USG, remove reference to Supplemental Pay, updated requirements for salary increases, and pay equity.
10/2020 Human Resources Editorial Updates

Human Resources

Editorial Updates


Human Resources

New Policy