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Update on Pay Equity Study

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Jeremy Haefner

News  •

Dear DU Community,

I am writing to provide an update on the progress we have made on the Pay Equity Study that has been underway since October 2019 with Gallagher Human Resources and Compensation Consulting. This study, which follows the significant market-based salary corrections we have made in the past for both faculty and staff, is intended to determine whether there are systemic inequities impacting the salaries of non-union, benefited faculty and staff on the basis of sex, race/ethnicity, or age. It is an important part of our continuing efforts to make DU an equitable, diverse, and welcoming community as expressed through our systems and culture.

Our commitment to pay equity takes on even greater importance as we navigate both the impacts of COVID-19 and our growing awareness that many people on our campus are experiencing inequity and marginalization in a variety of ways. More than ever, we must now closely examine all of our policies and decisions in the context of sex, race/ethnicity, age, and other aspects of our complex identities.

Phase I 
Using data from the fiscal year 2018–19 provided by DU, Gallagher examined the potential impact of a variety of factors, including federal protected-class categories (sex, race/ethnicity, and age) on employee pay for DU’s faculty and staff. Gallagher has presented initial findings to the advisory committee, which will offer advice on such aspects of the project as approach, results, and communication to the campus community.

In addition to examining salaries, Gallagher also recommended the following adjustments to our policies, in the interest of ensuring greater equity:

  • Standardize staff performance-management guidelines
    At present, merit increases are assigned by managers based on guidelines that may vary from division to division. Our new Cornerstone performance management system, which went into effect in October 2019, is an important step toward standardizing and clarifying manager-assigned ratings. More work will be done to provide consistent guidelines to drive a more equitable merit reward system across both staff and faculty.
  • Update guidelines regarding temporary salary increases
    In the past, DU has assigned temporary salary increases to employees taking on interim roles as a percentage of their base pay. Based on Gallagher’s recommendation, we plan to start calculating temporary increases at 10 percent annually, based on the midpoint salary of the grade associated with the new role. The annual temporary increase will be prorated and paid to the employee for each pay period worked in the interim role. More information about salary grades and compensation can be found here.

Next steps
As part of our commitment to pay equity at DU, we have convened a subcommittee of the Pay Equity Advisory Committee to review Gallagher’s initial findings and expand on their work. This subcommittee is comprised of faculty and staff with expertise in statistics and research methodology. They will take a closer look at Gallagher’s results in the coming months and continue the study.

We have also engaged Gallagher to evaluate and provide recommendations for improvements to staff job architecture, job levels, and opportunities for staff promotions and transfers within the University. This work has begun and is anticipated to be complete by the end of the calendar year.

We are grateful to the Pay Equity Advisory Committee, whose members are listed here, for its ongoing commitment to this important work. And we thank you—faculty and staff—for your patience as we evaluate our practices. For more detail, our colleagues in Human Resources and Inclusive Community (HRIC) have updated the web page of frequently asked questions about pay equity, and they will continue to do so as new information becomes available.

In the meantime, you have our commitment that we will complete the Pay Equity Study, address any pay inequities that come to light, and continue to improve our compensation systems. We will also continue to listen to community members who feel underserved or underrepresented and find ways to make DU a more equitable environment for all who live, work and study here.

If you have any questions about the pay equity study’s research or Gallagher’s process, please contact


Jeremy Haefner