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USNH Board of Trustees Review Mercer Report

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
March 31, 2010

The results of a report conducted to evaluate  the competitiveness of USNH’s total employees’ compensation package has been reviewed with Mercer, the company hired to do the study, during a meeting of the USNH board of trustees.

The meeting took place in Concord March 29. Representatives from the employee councils of all USNH’s universities and colleges were present as were heads of their respective human resource departments.

Four representatives from Mercer explained the details of the report, which indicated that, overall, USNH’s offerings are competitive with the market median (+/- within 10 percent).

USNH’s projected fringe benefit expenses for 2009 exceeded $109 million, with 47 percent going to medical and dental benefits and 44 percent toward retirement.

Mercer met with members of the board of trustees in late January to discuss the challenges facing USNH that require addressing rising and unsustainable costs. Challenges include the possibility that state funding will decrease; a decline in the demographics of traditional college students; increased financial pressures on those students and their families; deferred maintenance costs on USNH properties of nearly $1 billion; and the lack of substantial endowments and a traditional advancement at the universities and colleges.

Steps taken to help contain costs include freezing salaries and increasing employee contributions to health insurance premiums.

Three different peer groups were used by Mercer in the evaluation. Group 1 consisted of 20 national institutions of higher education, (16 public; four private), with 11 located in the Northeast. Group 2 had 19 higher education and service industry organizations (17 in the Northeast), 12 higher ed (10 public, two private) and seven service.  

The third group had 18 prominent employers, all located in the Northeast; five higher ed and 13 general industry including public sector, financial services, healthcare, retail and utilities.

The meeting was for informational purposes only; trustees did not take any action on the report. The next step is for the report to go to the trustees’ executive committee.

To read the Mercer report in its entirety go to http://www.usnh.edu/hr/pdf/USNH_Report_03292010.pdf


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