Career Architecture

Design Your Career Blueprint, and Discover Your Possibilities

Your career is as unique as you are—and no two paths are identical. To support your aspirations and professional development, we’re creating a transformational new Career Architecture framework for staff positions. This means more transparency for job opportunities, career levels and pay across the university.

man with laptop

The Career Architecture project is designed to offer our staff and their managers a transparent framework for how jobs, career levels, and pay are structured across the university. You’ll have the ability to discover job opportunities and design a career path that reflects your interests, skills, and goals.

Countdown to Completion

We aim to complete our new framework in early 2025. Subject matter experts from job families across the university are reviewing job titles and descriptions in groups. See our timeline for job family reviews below.

job family review timeline

Click to read the full timeline.

Frequently asked questions

What is Career Architecture?

Career Architecture refers to the overall framework of career pathways, with defined skills and competencies that will create a transparent, universitywide compensation and classification structure. With a clearly defined career framework that is consistent across different schools and departments, staff can more easily identify opportunities for internal career development and growth.  

The three key components of the framework are: 

  • Jobs: creating consistency across titles, levels, and descriptions 
  • Paths: identifying, experience, training, skills, and competency development 
  • Pay: enhancing pay transparency using a new market-based salary structure and a formalized compensation philosophy
Why is Career Architecture important for JHU?

Ensuring that our staff flourish is an integral part of the university’s mission and an important component of realizing our Ten-for-One strategic goals. We want staff to clearly see and access continuous pathways to professional growth—whether that means being supported as they pursue career advancement or educational opportunities or continue to thrive and excel in their current positions. 

Additionally, a simplified job classification and compensation structure will enhance JHU’s ability to proactively benchmark salaries to market, streamline promotional reviews, and enhance how we evaluate pay equity. 

Why did JHU decide to do this project now?

JHU has always championed staff development and progression. A combination of external and internal factors, including a competitive labor market and desire to be a national employer of choice, makes now the perfect time to bring more consistency and transparency to how staff navigate and progress their careers here.

JHU’s current job structure over-emphasizes supervisory duties as a requirement for job growth. Clear career progression with salary growth is needed for independent contributors who have specialized or advanced skills.

We also want to remove barriers to growth or progression that prevent career advancement.

By creating a new, streamlined job framework now, we hope to provide staff with more agency in designing their career paths, so they can view opportunities and understand how jobs fit together to grow their skills sets and advance their careers.

What steps are involved in creating a Career Architecture?

Creating a Career Architecture involves the following 

  • Reviewing every classified position at JHU in multiple phases (more than 2,000 jobs)
  • Meeting with  subject matter experts across the university to assess job family structures, job titles, skills, competencies, and minimum qualifications
  • Developing standardized job descriptions that align with the new job architecture structure
  • Matching  job titles within the new structure will be matched against market data to develop a new salary range structure for use across the university
How long will this project take?

The project began in 2022, with an initial focus on the design of the foundational job architecture, including career streams and levels and guidance on how to assign roles to the framework. Additionally, a new competency model was created with significant input from leadership and staff from across the university. Now that job family reviews are underway, the overall project is scheduled for completion in 2025 

Is JHU doing this work alone or working with an external partner?

JHU’s Compensation team in Central Human Resources is working with an external partner, Mercer Consulting, to develop a Career Architecture that aligns with best practice across higher education as well as for-profit corporations.   

The Compensation team provides the job-related knowledge needed to create a meaningful architecture that is customized to meet JHU’s needs, and Mercer provides external best practice validation on job leveling, titles, and skills and competency alignment for each job family group.   

Have our peers created similar career tracks or frameworks?

Yes, several peer institutions have created similar career frameworks. MIT engaged Mercer to design and implement a Career Architecture. The full project took 3.5 years for job family, career level, and standardized implementation, without including a new salary range structure redesign. 

The University of Chicago worked with Willis Towers Watson to design and implement a Career Architecture. The full project took over 3 years for implementation, with major involvement from Compensation to guide and support the consultant team.

Will the new framework include upward/forward career paths, or will they differ by job family or job title?

Each job title will be aligned with a career stream. As employees gain job experience, build competency-based knowledge through training, and develop skills, their careers can grow. With standard skills and competencies mapping the career path for each job family, employees can understand what additional knowledge they need to gain or skills that they need to develop in order to grow within their current job family or to transition into a different area of expertise within a new job family.  


Which levels of staff jobs will be reviewed and included in this new framework?

11,000 full- and part-time staff positions will be reviewed and included in this new framework (5,000 senior staff positions and 6,000 staff positions). Faculty, deans, executives, appointed senior staff, and bargaining unit staff are not included in the new framework. 

What will happen to my job due to this new framework?

This project focuses on enhancing employee growth and developmentnot restructuring or reducing staffand is designed to look at how jobs are categorized within tracks and levels across the university. As a result, certain job titles and salary ranges could change. More details will be shared as the project progresses  

How will my pay be impacted by this project?

Salaries and salary ranges for certain jobs may change as we focus on closer alignment with the outside market; however, any potential changes are unlikely to happen before 2025. 

Will this project guarantee that I can get a promotion in the future?

While this project sets the stage for career progression, individual advancement will depend on a combination of factors, including performance, readiness and available opportunities. Career Architecture, however, will provide a clear blueprint for staff to follow and refine as they explore their career interests and aspirations.

How were employees involved in the development of JHU’s Career Architecture?

We have been intentional about including a diverse and cross-functional group of staff in various advisory roles for the project. Executive staff are part of the leadership team serving as executive sponsors; additionally, staff from across the university are members of the core project team and advisory committee. Staff also participate as subject matter experts (SME) in focus groups to review job titles and descriptions in their respective job family (e.g., Human Resources and Information Technology). SME feedback provides insight into the gaps and inconsistencies that currently exist in JHU’s current job classification system and pay structure; they also help to inform career levels and career streams for the job family area of expertise. 

Will the Career Architecture change? Will more jobs or job families be added over time?

Once JHU establishes a Career Architecture framework, more jobs titles and job families could potentially be added over time, if doing so would help ensure the university maintains consistency in how it classifies and compensates jobs.

What resources and support will employees receive to help them navigate their career paths within the organization?

A temporary online tool will be available in summer 2024 that provides a snapshot of what career path navigation might look like for select jobs, and we are exploring technology that incorporates artificial intelligence to support internal mobility for the long term. Additionally, we’re investing in a Center for Staff Life Design to provide staff with  career growth tools. Staff can use these resources to design a personal career blueprint to help them realize their goals at every phase and stage of their life. 

Who is involved in the Career Architecture project?

Executive Sponsors
This group provides overall strategic direction for the project, approves implementation plans, and meets monthly.

  • Laurent Heller, SVP Finance & Administration | Office of the President
  • Meredith Stewart, interim vice president for Human Resources | Johns Hopkins University
  • Ellen MacKenzie, dean | Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Camille Johnston, vice president for Communications | Johns Hopkins University

Advisory Committee
This group provides leadership for the strategy of the implementation and direction on project-related business issues for their respective areas, ensures standardization is established where possible, assists with change management, and meets once a month.

  • Katrina Caldwell, vice provost and chief diversity officer | Office of Diversity and Inclusion
  • Kathy Forbush, executive director of Talent Management | Central Human Resources
  • Jackson Ireland, executive vice dean for Finance & Administration | Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Matthew Nesbitt, VP Financial & Administrative Systems | IT@JH
  • Fernanda Pio Roda, assistant vice president for Finance & Administration Transformation | School of Education
  • Sam Wilson, associate dean, Finance & Administration | Peabody Institute
  • Mary O’Connell, associate vice provost, Finance and Administration | Johns Hopkins University

Core Project Team
This group provides day-to-day project management, supports job definition and mapping teams’ work, and provides regular updates to the Advisory Committee and university leadership.

  • Jenny Winter (Functional Lead), director of HR-Compensation | Central Human Resources
  • Alina Smith (Project Management) | Central Human Resources
  • Compensation Team: Abby Christie, Helen Dunn, Julia Farrell-Breit, Melanie Goods, Matthew Hale, Monica Kim, Elaine Kudsieh, Mary Murbach, and Lisa Sanders
  • Amy Murphy and the Organizational Development Team
  • Tina Cole (Learning) | Talent Management
  • Dow Weeks and Karen Satchell (IT) | IT@JH Enterprise Business Solutions

Job Definition and Mapping Teams
This group participates in a series of meetings to define roles, levels, skills, and competencies.

  • Job Family / Sub-Family SMEs
  • HR Business Partner Lead(s)
  • Compensation Team Leads(s)
  • Organizational Development Team Lead(s)
  • Mercer Consultant(s)