By Nicole Toomey Davis
The Office of the State Auditor today released a Total Compensation Study for the State of Utah. The Office contracted with Gallagher Benefit Services, Inc., or GBS, to conduct a total compensation study for fiscal year 2017. The GBS study compares compensation for an array of positions within state government employment with similar positions in Utah’s private sector market. This study excludes comparisons with other governmental entities within Utah.
The GBS study reports that, in general, state employees are competitively compensated compared with private sector employees but identifies a significant misalignment between wages and benefits. In other words, state employees receive wages that are generally below market but receive benefits that are significantly above market.
For example, the average employee within the state’s tier 1 retirement program typically longer-tenure employees, received compensation that was 8.93 percent above Utah’s private market median. The average employee within the state’s tier 2 retirement program, typically short-term tenure employees, received compensation that was 6.34 percent above market.
The GBS study reported the possible misalignment of base salaries, which were on average 12.28 percent below the Utah private sector market. Total benefits compared in the study were also misaligned. For tier 1 employees, analyzed employer benefit costs were 88.89 percent above the market median while for tier 2 employees those benefit costs were 76.35 percent above the market. Benefits studied include health insurance, retirement benefits, short-term and long-term disability insurance, and life insurance.
We encourage the legislature to review this information and to consider taking steps to better align the mix of state employee compensation with that of Utah’s private sector industries.
The summary data is available specifically here.