Majority Of Douglas County Employees Don’t Earn Market Rate Wages, New Raise Structure Would Correct This
It's news that no employer wants to have circulated around to the general public - especially in the current job market that's flush with openings: The majority of staffers who work for Douglas County earn "less than market-rate wages". In other words, they would earn considerably more doing the same tasks at other employers.
The news comes on the heels of - and compounds - the problems that Douglas County has had recently in attracting applicants for their open positions. Over the past year or so, the county has had to try alternative methods for attracting qualified applicants to file for jobs; in many departments, the county continues to have a "rolling number" of unfilled positions.
Some of that should hopefully change next year. According to an article in the Superior Telegram [paywall], general pay raises are coming for all staffers to battle the fact that "more than half of all county workers earn less than market rate wages".
The pay raises will come through a variety of means. Included in those plans is the elimination of "the lowest pay grade"; there will also be a means to "alter salary ranges, and expand room for growth within individual positions to keep the county competitive in the labor market".
Employees will see different rate of increases, depending on what position they work at:
"...[T]he minimum pay increase will be about 2%, but most will see a 2.5% increase. Those on the lower end of the pay scale could see as much as a 16% increase, which would take Douglas County's lowest paid workers from $16 per hour to $17.41 per hour."
And while there are some lower salary ranges left for so-called "entry level jobs", those on the Douglas County wage scale would see that $17.41 hourly wage as the lowest on the ranking.
The news is good for current Douglas County workers, and they'll no longer be at the bottom end of the wage scale. But, it still doesn't create any large take-aways for staffers. "The new wage plan puts Douglas County in the middle of small, rural communities with lower wages and leaders in the wage market". Malayna Halvorson Maes - a Senior Consultant with McGrath Human Resources Group - the firm tasked with aiding the county with their plans - says:
"Unfortunately, they're still going to go across the border and they're likely to earn more than what Douglas County is going to pay."
Total cost of the new wage structure for 2023 clocks in around $568,000; because "half the salaries get reimbursed by the state through various programs", the net cost to Douglas County would actually be around $300,000.
The new pay levels were approved by the Administration Committee. Next stop is the full Douglas County Board.