What is Compa Ratio? Why is it important? How do you calculate it?

Compa ratio compares employee salaries with the median market rate for their position. It aids retention by ensuring fair pay, transparency, and performance-based rewards, fostering trust, engagement, and a competitive advantage.

Ivor Colson


Compa Ratio: What, Why, and How

  • Compa ratio: Compares employee salaries with the median market rate for their position. 
  • Usually expressed as a percentage or ratio.

Importance of Compa Ratio

  • Compa ratio attracts and retains employees through:
  • Fair compensation: Ensures satisfaction and motivation.
  • Retention incentive: Addresses underpayment to reduce turnover.
  • Transparency and trust: Demonstrates fairness and intentions.
  • Performance and rewards: Tied to evaluations and bonuses.
  • Competitive advantage: Attracts top talent with competitive compensation.
  • Engagement and commitment: Fair compensation increases engagement.

Calculating Compa Ratio

  • For an individual: (Employee's Salary / Market Rate) * 100.
  • Example: Market rate £45,000, employee paid £40,000 → Compa ratio 89%.
  • For a group: (Sum of Segment Salaries / Sum of Market Segment Salaries) * 100.
  • Compa ratio can be calculated manually or using a platform.

Steps to Improve Compa Ratio

  • Market analysis: Keep on top of industry salary trends.
  • Data reporting: Regularly analyse internal compensation data.
  • Review compensation philosophy: Align with goals and balance.
  • Job evaluation and grading: Match roles' value and responsibilities.
  • Merit increase planning: Reward performance and close gaps.
  • Performance management: Link achievements to compensation.
  • Communication: Transparently communicate compensation strategy.

What is Compa Ratio ?

Compa ratio, short for "compensation ratio," a metric used to compare one or multiple employee actual salaries to the market rate of the salary range for their position.

It compares salary to the median compensation for similar roles within a company or within a specific industry. The value is usually expressed as a percentage, or a ratio.

Why is Compa Ratio important?

Attract and retain employees

The main benefit of measuring compa ratio is so you can attract and retain your employees. Here are the top reasons why compa ratio is important for this:

Fair Compensation

When employees perceive that their compensation is fair and aligned with the market value for their role, they are more likely to feel satisfied and motivated to stay with your organisation. Measuring the compa ratio helps you to identify instances where employees are being underpaid compared to market standards, and it gives you an opportunity to adjust salaries and ensure fairness.

Retention Incentive

If an individual or segment of employees is significantly lower than the market rate, usually less than 80%, it may indicate that they are being paid less than their peers and/or industry standards. This can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction, and higher risk to turnover. By addressing such disparities and bringing salaries in line with market norms, you create an incentive for employees to be loyal.

Transparency and Trust

Regularly sharing your compa ratio data with employees demonstrates transparency in your compensation practices. When your employees understand their salaries are determined and see efforts to maintain fairness, they are more likely to trust your organisation's intentions. This trust fosters a positive workplace environment and is key for high performing teams, along with attracting talent and discouraging turnover. 

Performance and Rewards

The compa ratio can also be tied to performance evaluation and rewards systems. If employees consistently perform well but have a low compa ratio, it may signal a need for a raise or bonus to reflect their contributions. Recognizing and rewarding employees appropriately can increase their job satisfaction and commitment to your organisation.

Competitive Advantage

Organizations that actively monitor and adjust their compa ratios to stay competitive in the job market are more likely to attract and retain top talent. Employees are less likely to leave for better-paying opportunities if the company's compensation practices are in line with or exceed industry standards.

Engagement and Commitment

By ensuring that employees are fairly compensated, you can increase overall engagement and commitment levels. Employees who feel valued and adequately rewarded are more invested in their roles and are less likely to leave for perceived greener pastures.

How can you calculate Compa Ratio?

Calculating your compa ratio is simple. You can calculate compa ratio for an individual, or for a group of employees. 

Divide the employee’s current salary by the market rate. Then multiply by 100 to get the percentage. 

Individual compa ratio

Individual Compa Ratio = (Employee's Actual Salary / Market Rate for Role) * 100

Here’s an example, if the market rate for the role is £45,000, and a employee is paid £40,000, that person is compensated at 89% (£40,000/£45,000 * 100) of the market rate.

Group compa ratio

Group compa ratio = (Sum of salaries for employee segment A & B / Sum of the Market salaries for employee segments A & B) * 100

You can do these calculations manually, or you can use our platform to measure it using your workplace data. This allows you to easily slice and dice the data according to employee segments, specific individuals and so on. If this is of interest to you, you can find out more here.

You can calculate compa ratio instantly using Omnifia

Steps to improve Compa Ratio 

If employees are leaving or perhaps candidates are rejecting your offer due to compa ratio reasons, you can deploy certain tactics to adjust your organisation's overall compensation philosophy. 

Market analysis

Conduct comprehensive market research to identify industry-specific salary trends, ensuring you have up-to-date data on compensation benchmarks for various roles in your region. This information will enable you to pinpoint areas where your company's compa ratio is lagging behind market rates and where you need to focus.

Data reporting and analysis

Use Omnifia to set up regular reporting to dynamically gather and analyse internal compensation data to evaluate the current compa ratios across your roles. This data-driven approach will highlight positions that require adjustment, providing a clear direction for addressing disparities.

Review your compensation philosophy

Collaborate with your leadership to refine your company's compensation philosophy, aligning it with strategic objectives and balancing competitiveness with financial constraints. A well-defined philosophy guides decisions on how to distribute resources more equitably.

Job Evaluation and Grading

Continuously assess your job descriptions and qualifications, assigning appropriate job grades that reflect roles' value and responsibilities. This systematic approach ensures that employees are classified correctly and compensated accordingly.

Merit Increase Planning

Develop a merit increase program that rewards exceptional performance and addresses compa ratio gaps. By setting aside a budget for strategic salary adjustments, you can motivate employees and narrow the compensation divide.

Performance Management

Implement a robust performance management system that links employee achievements to compensation. Equip managers with the tools to provide accurate and fair evaluations to enhance alignment of rewards with contributions.


Transparently communicate the organization's compensation strategy, providing employees with insights into how their compensation aligns with market standards. Clear communication fosters understanding and trust.

Applying these approaches collectively will empower you to make strategic decisions that enhance your company's compa ratio and foster a more competitive compensation environment.

Frequently asked questions about compa ratio 

What is a compa ratio 75?

A compa ratio of 75 means the salary in question is 75% below the market rate expected for the position. This is below the lower end of a compa ratio, even when assessing inexperienced new hires and poor performers. 

What is the meaning of compa ratio?

The compa ratio, short for "compensation ratio," is a metric used to compare an individual’s or group of employee’s actual salary to the market rate expected for their position.

What is the compa ratio formula?

Individual Compa Ratio = (Employee's Actual Salary / Market Rate for Role) * 100

Group compa ratio = (Sum of salaries for employee segment A & B / Sum of the Market salaries for employee segments A & B) * 100

What is a good compa ratio

Of course, a compa ratio of 100% means that you are paying an employee their full market value based on the role and responsibilities. There are instances where employees are inexperienced and underperforming, and a compa ratio of 80% is acceptable. Likewise, with experienced and high performing employees, a compa ratio of 120% is also perfectly reasonable. However, you shouldn’t veer outside the 80-120% range otherwise you may experience some of the negative issues talked about in this article.