Arrow-right Camera

Eye On Boise

CEC Committee convenes; hears mixed results from annual report on state worker salaries

Idaho Division of Human Resources Administrator Susan Buxton addresses the Legislature's joint Change in Employee Compensation Committee on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at the state Capitol. (Betsy Russell)
Idaho Division of Human Resources Administrator Susan Buxton addresses the Legislature's joint Change in Employee Compensation Committee on Thursday, January 11, 2018 at the state Capitol. (Betsy Russell)

The Legislature’s joint Change in Employee Compensation (CEC) Committee has convened in the Lincoln Auditorium for the first of three meetings over the course of the next week; it heard first from state Human Resources Administrator Susan Buxton, who is presenting the annual CEC Report. The report, she said, “indicates the state is no longer losing significant ground relative to the market for total compensation.”

According to a custom survey of Idaho employers conducted for the state by Milliman, “state employees’ actual salaries are approximately 9 percent below the actual salaries in the market,” and the “market deficit is 9.9 percent when compared with the public sector.” That’s on Page 5 of this year’s CEC Report.

However, the Korn Ferry Hay Group’s 2017 survey, a survey comparing Idaho state salaries to market rates that the state has commissioned each year for many years, found a less favorable picture. “When compared to the private sector, Idaho’s aggregate base salary market position has remained largely unchanged from 2015 to 2017 and is 24% below the market average,” the CEC Report says on Page 8.

“Below market salaries impact the overall value of benefits, resulting in a total compensation market position that is 12% below the market average," the state report says. "When compared to the public sector, Idaho’s aggregate base salary market position has not changed since 2015 and is 14% below the market average in 2017.”

Greg McNutt of Milliman told the lawmakers that the Milliman survey looks at “different components to how we pay our employees,” and is an “Idaho-centric type of survey.” He said it’s the first year that Milliman has worked with the state on this topic. “Our business is conducting these surveys,” he said. “We sent out surveys to 100 organizations and 32 followed up with us.”

The CEC Report says, on Page 28, “Milliman’s analysis compares benchmark jobs within the State’s compensation plan with relevant local and regional peer organizations.” McNutt said the survey is a "deep dive"' that focused on 73 benchmark types of jobs.

Buxton told the joint committee that Idaho’s 25,300 employees are the largest workforce in the state. And with the state’s current low rates of unemployment, Idaho’s economy is “very near full employment.” As a result, she said, “Everybody’s struggling to get good employees, skilled employees for the work that they have.”

Buxton said state employees are a dedicated group. “The CEC Committee is a really important thing,” she told the lawmakers, “and the employees do understand and they do notice that you’re dealing with this at the very beginning of the session and it means a lot to them, so thank you.”

The meeting is being streamed live online; you can watch here.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

Follow Betsy online: