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You've hit the nail on the head Margaret and I am as puzzled as anyone...now what? It will be interesting to how organizations respond to these issues. One organization is addressing position in range for a very select population but it is costly. The sins of the past several years in terms of merit budget and a disconnect between hiring practices have played a key role in the situation.

Thanks for the info, Korin. You know, I'm not sure that many can afford a broad fix on position in range at the moment, but I really do believe we can't ignore the issue. Talking about it, understanding the impact, presenting to execs. And beginning to address the issue, if possible, as you describe in your comment.

We are undermining the stated purpose of salaries and we all need to understand that. Otherwise we are guilty of spinning our rewards "philosophy" by telling some real whoppers when we talk with employees. We all know what that leads to.

Assuring proper pay progression over time is an old problem with a new sharp edge. When the net closure rate between normal pay increase and grade structure movement rates diminish, the laws of mathematics show that your promised "deal" is baloney. Major changes to close the gaps between promised employee pay progress expectations and obvious program shortfalls will be required eventually. Both action and communication will be vital.

Anyone can buy a back copy of the ancient March 1980 Personnel Journal article on the subject: "The Problem with Salary Ranges (and a Realistic Solution)" at Workforce.com. Or you might contact the author (wink, nudge).

Your right, Jim, this is a problem that has appeared before. And my consulting career began with a number of assignments involved with "fixing" the position in range problem following pay freezes and the like.

Right now, though, I think the most important thing is for us to talk about this openly. The word, "malarkey," became more popular in the last week, but I don't think I'd go that far quite yet. What I do think is baloney is not facing up to what we mean when we say pay for performance these days. Unless I'm at the midpoint by 4 to 5 years in my job, I have the right to use the word malarkey -- and that's not a good sign for engagement.

Pay for performance, competitive pay, etc. You're right that all organizations need a deeper dive into how they pay v. company pay philosophy/strategy...and, COMMUNICATE it clearly to employees, managers, and applicants.

As long as I've been in comp actual pay points to market median and merit budgets have exacerbated competitive pay. The best approach I've seen in handling this issue long-term is just as stated here -- focus on total rewards.

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