AHS Careers Blog

Making the Grade: 4 Things You Should Know About How Nursing Pay Rates are Set

Dan Mealo
Posted by Dan Mealo on Mar 22, 2018 6:11:11 PM
From day to day, you have developed a keen sense for what things should cost. When it’s something small that you purchase regularly, like a gallon of unleaded or your favorite quick lunch at a corner restaurant, you have a really good idea just how much the price should be. If it’s a big purchase, perhaps a car or a house, you likely do some research on how prices are set so that you’ll know that you’re getting a fair deal when you find the one you want.

woman considering price-1.jpg

Perhaps you’ve already found a nursing job on our Adventist Health System careers site that has caught your eye, or maybe you’re trying to choose between several different employers. You may wonder, “How can I know whether a pay rate is being set fairly or not?”

A few minutes spent understanding how our nursing pay scales are set can help you make wise career decisions and have greater confidence when evaluating the offer for your dream job. Here are four things you should know.


1. Jobs are Assigned Pay Grades Based on their Descriptions

Job pay scales are not created with one team member or candidate in mind. Instead, a written description is prepared for what will be required of the team members performing that particular job. Does the role require a degree? Does it require certain certifications? Are there a minimum required number of years of nursing experience? Will those in the role manage others or be responsible for making important decisions? The job description will include the education and certification requirements for the job, the duties that team members in the job will perform, and the level of responsibility.

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Each job is assigned to a “grade” based on its description. A grade lists the minimum and maximum pay rate that someone in that job would make. We create grades so that they are wide enough to allow you to grow within a job, receiving pay increases along the way.

Click here to view Sample Nursing Pay Grades.

2. Pay Grades are Set by Market Value & Internal Equity

Just like you would carefully research a big purchase, we do extensive research to make sure that our job grades are competitive. How is this done?

This is not a matter of a simple Internet search, which would return unreliable results. Reliable data is available from special compensation surveys that we subscribe to or purchase from reputable consulting firms and healthcare industry associations. These firms and associations collect wage and salary responses directly from a large number of hospitals and other employers. After carefully validating and analyzing the data, they publish reports that show what the market rates are for the jobs included in their surveys.

analyzing-data

Survey providers only publish this data when they have enough companies responding. In this way, the source data is kept anonymous and can’t be traced back to individual employers who may have participated in the survey. When possible, the reports will summarize the data by the city or region where employees are located and by the size of the hospitals or other organizations that participated in the survey. This paints a much more detailed and accurate picture of the labor market than is available from any other data source.

At Adventist Health System, we use dozens of independent survey sources when market pricing jobs. To ensure accuracy, our jobs are matched to survey results based on the details in the written job description instead of just looking at the job title. We use the combined average of pricings from multiple survey sources so that we can be confident that our market pricings are thoroughly researched and a good fit to the job.

Using the market pricing results, job grades are then set, enabling us to attract and retain talented team members today while also providing opportunities for professional growth.


3. A Team Member's Rate within the Grade is Based on Several Factors

An offer rate is calculated for new team members within the job’s assigned grade so that you’re making a competitive rate now and have opportunity to have your growth and professional progress rewarded as your career progresses.

male nurse speaking with patient

The formula for calculating an offer within the grade is set by each facility based on its needs and the local pay practices that are reported in market surveys. While the exact formula may vary a bit from region to region, you will want to make sure that your recruiter is aware of which nursing degrees and certifications you have and how many years of experience you have in related roles so that your offer is calculated correctly.

4. Grades are Updated Regularly to Reflect Market Changes 

Just as the market price of gasoline, groceries, and other items tends to change over time, the market value of jobs tends to change, too. Job grades cannot just be set against market data once when they are first created and then forgotten. They must be maintained over time. That is why we regularly compare our existing job grades against market survey data updates, adjusting grades to keep up with the latest labor market trends.


Find the Nursing Role that's Right for You

Our compensation program at Adventist Health System is designed to attract talented nursing candidates today and give them opportunities for career growth with the organization in the future. If you're interested in exploring some of our nursing career options, click on the button below. 

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Tags: nursing, pay, compensation