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Career Band Salary Increases & Adjustments

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In career-banding, compensation and salary increases are based on employee competency levels and labor market rates for each occupational area. Competencies are knowledge, skills, and work behaviors that contribute to employees' success in their job. The career-band competency profiles identify and describe the specific competencies needed to perform the work assigned. There are three competency levels in each band: Contributing, Journey, and Advanced.  The employee’s competency levels are assessed, in relation to their position, using a Competency Assessment form that compares assigned duties to the applicable career-band competency profile. However, the assessment of the competencies, with regard to the career-band classification, compensation, and subsequent salary increases, is not determined by the employee’s performance evaluation. The Competency Assessment documents that the employee has demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and abilities based on the specific competencies required to do the work of that position.
Within each band, employee salaries are determined by several factors:

  • Budget and the availability of funding
  • Market Reference Rates
  • Competency profiles which help identify:
  • Minimum qualifications for the career band
  • Related education and experience
  • Duties and responsibilities
  • Specialized training, certifications and licenses
  • Internal pay alignment (equity according to designated pay factors)
  • Current salary and compensation

As competencies are developed through work experience, education, and training and are used on the job, employees may become eligible for salary adjustment consideration. Increases are subject to the employing department’s funding availability. All salary increases of 20% or more must be reviewed by the Office of State Human Resources.

Career Progression

A salary increase within the pay range of the band to which an employee is assigned resulting from increase in competencies. There are two types of salary increases related to career progression:

Within Level Salary Increase: Employee’s salary may be increased without a change in the competency level when there is an increase in the demonstration of additional competencies.

Within Band (level changes): Employee’s salary may be increased based on the demonstration of additional competencies that are significant enough to change the position/employee from a lower competency level to a higher competency level within a banded classification.

 Labor Market Adjustments

An adjustment or increase to a salary that is beneath the  market reference rate established for  the career banded classification assigned to the employee’s position.

Temporary Salary Adjustments - SPA Employees

Temporary Salary Adjustments may be awarded to career banded employees to compensate for additional duties within the same band that are assigned on a temporary basis to meet a specific organizational need. Requests for temporary salary adjustments are typically related to staffing/vacancies or one-time/special projects. The temporary salary should not exceed the maximum of the range and usually does not exceed a one-year duration.

To initiate a request for a temporary salary adjustment (SPA), please use PeopleAdmin to propose a temporary salary adjustment amount and to list the temporary new, additional, and/or higher level duties performed by the employee. Classification & Compensation will review your request.

Note: If your request is for a "flat rate" or supplemental pay request, (e.g.: work will be performed outside of the regular work week, for a borrowing department, and work is occupationally different than the employee's primary role) please complete an SPA Supplemental Pay Request form. Your Human Resource Information Management (HRIM) Specialist will review your request.

Retention Adjustments

Retention adjustments (not to exceed the range maximum) may be awarded to prevent turnover in positions that are critical to the organization’s business operations or to address retention problems related to unique, critical, and unusual labor market conditions. When retention adjustments are used  to make a counter offer to retain a key employee who is being actively recruited, the recruiting employer must be external to the University or N.C. state government system.

Other Types of Salary Increases

Legislative Increases

Career-banded employees are eligible for approved legislative increases (LI).  If a career banding adjustment is approved with the same effective date as a legislative increase (e.g., July 1), the LI will be applied before the career banding adjustment.  Banded ranges may increase annually based on legislative increase or based on market data approved by the Office of State Human Resources.  A permanent employee may also receive other salary increases as dictated by legislation specifying funding and selection criteria. Details on criteria are communicated by Human Resources.  


A promotion within the career banded system is defined as follows:
Employee movement from one position to another in the same banded classification, with a higher competency level or employee movement from one position to another in a different banded classification with a higher journey market rate.
Promotional salaries are determined based on the pay factors and may not exceed the maximum of the range.  If funds are not available, a salary increase may be considered at a later date based on a future evaluation of the pay factors.  Any future adjustments must be made on a current, not retroactive, basis.  However, if employees are promoted from a lower band to a higher band, they must be paid at least at the minimum of the pay range at the time of the promotion. 

Horizontal Transfer

A horizontal transfer within the career banded system is defined as employee movement from one position to another within the same banded classification with the same competency level or movement from one position to another with a different classification with the same journey market rate.  If a change is requested by the supervisor, salary is based on application of the pay factors and may not exceed the maximum of the range.


A reassignment within the career banded system is defined as follows:

  • A position change or employee movement from one position to another with the same banded classification but with a lower competency level.
  • A position change or employee movement from one position to another in a different banded classification with a lower journey market rate.

When an employee and/or position is reassigned, the employee’s salary is based on application of the pay factors and may not exceed the maximum of the newly assigned range.  The salary may be reduced to any amount within the pay range of the newly assigned band or the salary may remain the same so long as it does not exceed the maximum of the lower pay range. If reassignment is by employee choice, the option to maintain salary above appropriate rate based on pay factors is not applicable.

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Contact Classification and Compensation, 515- 7175