Introducing the improved Mercer Benchmark Database: new options, features, and insights for 2018

January 25, 2019

First things first: what is the Mercer Benchmark Database?

Mercer Benchmark Database (MBD) is a powerhouse of compensation data that covers thousands of cross-industry positions. If you’ve ever used the database before, you know it’s not just the variety of positions available that makes it so exceptional. It’s also the broad range of coverage across 14 key industry sectors that makes it stand out from the other offerings. As an added convenience, you also have the option to receive your data in several different formats, which gives you complete freedom to analyze your compensation data in whatever way is most comfortable to you.

With all these perks, it’s no wonder why the professionals at the more than 4,000 participating US and Canadian organizations consider this database to be the hallmark of their market pricing efforts. And now, with extensive feedback from the survey users, Mercer’s own consultants and industry experts, and you, MBD is more comprehensive than ever.

We’ve taken steps to unleash the full power of this resource, completely revamping the position coding in the process. We’ve also expanded the positions covered within, revised the various modules, and added several new and exciting features on top of that. Here, you’ll learn all about these and other improvements which have made the industry’s best benchmark database even better.

New ways to evaluate positions you care about

The 2018 editions of both the US Mercer Benchmark Database and the Canada Mercer Benchmark Database feature new job libraries and coding systems. These new additions increase the efficiency of participant data submission, provide new alternatives for data extraction, and make global data comparisons easier than ever. Along the way, the new Mercer Job Library (or just “Library”) replaced the Mercer Universal Position Code System (MUPCS). Soon, this highly-accessible new Library format will be used in all of Mercer’s surveys.

More positions to choose from, more ways to sort

A lot of consideration went into the transition from the old job-coding system to the new Library. For example, the extensive job list in MBD was reviewed and then expanded to include all relevant cross-industry roles. At the same time, a limited number of key industry-specific roles were included as well. The resulting list amounts to over 7,500 positions!

While the prospect of 7,500 positions might seem a little daunting at first, don’t let it deter you. We’ve also implemented several key features to make sorting through the data as easy for you as possible. In addition, all jobs now have much clearer and more informative descriptions as well as recognizable job codes and career levels aligned with consulting frameworks.

On top of all that, we’ve conveniently grouped everything into:

  • 20 job families
  • 118 job subfamilies
  • 20 career levels
  • 2,000 specializations
MBD Consolidated job catalog infographic image

With all these improvements, you’ll find that sorting through benchmark compensation data and carrying out essential market pricing objectives is easier than ever, even with the hugely expanded listing of jobs to choose from!

Streamlined survey modules

After expanding the positions, we decided it was also time to update the benchmark database survey modules. Now, survey modules are in much more intuitive job groupings, each with a clearer distinction of what the module includes. This makes it easier for you to maximize your resources and navigate between the modules.

But not everything has changed! For example, the US database still offers nine modules, while the Canada database still offers eight. However, some changes have occurred within those modules. For 2018, the largest of those changes include:

  1. US Corporate Services and HR — Not only did the module name change, but additional roles were added to cover those typically found in a corporate services environment. This enhancement allows you to submit and access data for these roles in a single convenient module.
  2. US and Canada Executive — For these modules, all five levels of the executive career stream are now covered exclusively. Plus, the Senior Manager II (M5) level has been included across surveyed MBD specializations. This enhancement allows you to focus on matching to or accessing results for all of your leadership roles, all within a single spot.
  3. US Metropolitan Benchmark — We revised our regional modules to include all relevant specializations (as opposed to just some roles). Since the professional and para-professional levels are the levels whose pay rates are most likely to be influenced by location, the MBD focuses on them instead of just the higher career levels (as it has in the past).

There’s been a name change, as well. The “CA MBD Marketing and Sales” module has been retitled “Sales, Marketing and Communications.” We believe this new name better reflects the breadth of the roles contained within this module. And, the name change is doubly appropriate following the removal of customer service jobs from the module. Now, compensation data for these jobs can be found exclusively in the US and Canada Contact Center & Customer Service surveys.

MBD database modules infographic image

New ways to group your survey data

While you can still use the database to report on information at the job level, you also now have the ability to reference comprehensive market data roll-ups. The new and improved MBD clearly defines relationships between different jobs, then displays data by any specific job as well two new types of job roll-ups. This diversity lets you better understand the varying pay approaches for broad groupings of similar jobs, skills, and responsibilities. As for the two new types of job roll-ups, they are:

  • Core Jobs: a streamlined roll-up of the underlying jobs within a subfamily at the career level.
  • Mercer Combined Jobs: predefined combinations of jobs curated by Mercer experts who can utilize first-hand industry knowledge and experience.
MBD job content leveling infographic image

Smarter and more flexible reporting capabilities

To capitalize on the more flexible job-matching capabilities in Mercer Job Library, we have also made changes to the database’s reporting features. While your survey results are still delivered in Mercer WIN, you’ll find that your predefined reports are now standardized. This standardization will help you make comparisons across multiple Mercer products, a task that was much trickier in the past. Meanwhile, the Market Summary and Market Detail reports have been refined to offer ready-made content for quick and efficient market pricing and job analysis.

The ultimate goal is to move all Mercer salary surveys to the new Mercer Job Library framework. This movement will further enhance your ability to develop custom matches while conducting analyses of different modules and products.

A new set of data points to explore

You’ve surely heard questions like, “Can you tell me how many direct reports that position should have?” Or “Do our directors manage enough people?” And what about, “What is the appropriate span of control for a job, or multiple jobs, within a level?” The list could go on and on, but if you’re like most compensation professionals, you know how complicated it can be to explain these various answers to your leaders.

Fortunately, the right data can very often give you a solid starting point when you’re attempting to provide guidance on these complex matters to higher-ups. To help you find your starting point, MBD now contains the number of direct and indirect reports at the incumbent level. It’s just one more improvement that makes the industry’s best benchmark database even better.

Making the complex a little bit easier

As you can surely tell, we’re very exciting about these new improvements to Mercer Benchmark Database. We hope you are too. We made each and every decision with the client in mind, with the ultimate goal of streamlining one of the more complicated, costly, and time-consuming aspects of your HR and market pricing responsibilities.

Over time, you’ll see more surveys switch over to the new Library, and its recent enhancements will allow for improved data analysis, easier data submission, and more intuitive survey- and country-comparison capabilities. While the future of many industries, job types, and other elements of HR planning are hard to predict, they can at least be made easier to manage. The new Mercer MBD is your first step toward that.