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Hay Group official on why Idaho state worker pay hasn’t gained ground, remains well below market

Malinda Riley, a senior principal with Hay Group Korn Ferry from Chicago, addresses Idaho lawmakers on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 about state employee pay. (Betsy Russell)
Malinda Riley, a senior principal with Hay Group Korn Ferry from Chicago, addresses Idaho lawmakers on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 about state employee pay. (Betsy Russell)

Malinda Riley, a senior principal with Hay Group Korn Ferry, told the Legislature’s CEC Committee that her firm has been conducting surveys to compare Idaho state salaries to market rates for many years; she’s been on the team since 2012. “It’s an in-depth look at both salary and benefits for state employees,” she said. “The key here I want to emphasize is the consistency, so consistent with prior years, we analyzed the pay and benefits” for all of the state’s 231 job classifications. “We combine those salary and benefit analyses to get a total view of total compensation,” she said. “We have a proprietary actuarial methodology for analyzing benefits.”

“We have used a consistent selection criteria for the markets we use, so we include an Idaho-centric market, as well as a public sector market” that’s from both inside and outside the state of Idaho, Riley said. “The custom survey is only considering  a subset; we’re looking at a much broader sample of jobs.”

So, comparing the Hay survey to the Milliman custom survey, “Even though the results may be different, they’re not inconsistent,” Riley said. The Milliman survey shows Idaho state salaries running just 9 percent below market rates, compared to 73 specifically benchmarked Idaho jobs.

The Hay survey, she said, shows, “The state continues to be below the market, at 23.9 percent below the market average, which is a slight improvement … over the prior study.” In 2015, Idaho was 24.5 percent below market.

“Compared to the public sector, the state is 14.1 percent below the market average, and that is a slight drop from the prior study,” she said. In 2015, that figure was 13.7 percent below market.

For total compensation, Idaho was 12.2 percent below market compared to the private sector, and 10.9 percent behind compared to the public sector, according to the Hay study. “Benefits does give the packages a boost, but does not offset the salary market position,” Riley said.



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.

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