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Critical Skills Compensation


An international systems and technology company was expanding in the United States. The company’s main product lines focused on high-end voice and video surveillance activities. Its applications were often used in 911 operations and airports. As part of this expansion, it was hiring all levels of systems engineers and developers. Particular skills were needed for expanding existing product lines and adding new products and features. In addition, the company needed to staff the customer support center.


The D.G. McDermott Associates (DGM) team interviewed the company’s top 10 executives to understand the unit’s strengths and weaknesses, its competitive advantages, specific three- and five-year business goals, the underlying assumptions driving those goals, and the human capital requirements for achieving long-range plans.

DGM began a comprehensive redesign of the compensation program that encompassed all aspects of base, incentive and merit pay for all levels. We also conducted a market study of pay levels and practices of target companies in the industry.


D.G. McDermott Associates recommended the following:

  • Executives should have a larger portion of their variable pay contingent upon unit results.
  • The exempt job structure should be consolidated into fewer bands.
  • Project incentives should be initiated to help focus on achieving business results.


Competitive base salaries helped the company recruit and retain critical skilled staff. The variable pay component helped set a higher than average compensation level. The company was on track to meet its staffing requirements and, therefore, its business goals.

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