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HOT is passionate about transparency and equity. More than three years ago, HOT chose to be more transparent about salaries by rolling out a published salary framework in January 2019. Since then, we have continued to learn and develop our framework in striving to be a more transparent and equitable global organization. Our most recent learning is that this framework provides HOT a platform from which to have conversations with staff about their salary and their perspectives on pay equity. As a result of these insightful conversations, we have enacted certain changes that we believe have led to more equity.

Starting in mid-2020, we undertook a review to ensure our framework is transparent, fair, and meets the demands of a complex, global workforce. We did not throw the first framework out the window. On the contrary, we found it provided the necessary structure for determining salaries but needed tweaking and additional resources behind it.

In 2022, we introduced developments in our location factor to make its application more consistent and to compress the gaps between the lowest to the highest location band, while still considering local labor markets. This helps us continue to be competitive and attract and retain mission-driven talent, while also not adversely interfering with local labor markets.

Our goals around compensation have not changed - we still want to ensure a transparent, consistent, and equitable process for all staff, regardless of position, location, gender, or any other distinguishing characteristic. We are always learning in this process and will continue to make adjustments to ensure fairness.

The HOT Salary Framework

The HOT Salary Framework is based upon a formula made up of four factors that, when multiplied together, determine a HOT employee’s annual salary or contractor’s hourly rate.

Salary Equation 2022.png

Role Base & Salary Scale

The Role Base Salary is the value of work for each role in the organization based on the job description (not job title), career level, specific skills, level of supervision, education, etc. that the role requires. This is a number in USD that serves as the benchmark salary for each position in our organization. HOT partners with to get accurate, US national market-based salary data benchmarked to organizations sized at 150 staff in the non-profit humanitarian sector. Working with the Insight Lab at PayScale, we created an organizational salary scale (all in USD):

HOT Salary Scale [in USD; non-profit factor already applied; location factor not yet applied]

Salary Rates 2022.png

Each role falls within a specific grade on the scale above, identified between the hiring manager,HR, and Finance Teams at the creation of the position before any hiring is done. Certain job levels can span more than one grade, which allows for additional staff growth in those roles. Each position posted on includes the relevant grade from our scale and applicable salary range depending on location and experience.

Next, the Role Base Salary amount is calculated at the 50th percentile of the market within Payscale’s Insight Lab platform by comparing that role to similar positions based on the job description. Note that publishes salaries publicly based on job title; these may not reflect the calculated salaries based on job description (not job title), career level, specific skills, level of supervision, education, etc. This ensures that the role base salary is within our scale to ensure equity at the same time it is competitive within the sector.

After choosing the Role Base Salary, we apply a Non-Profit Factor of 95% that that is already incorporated in the salary scale above. The Non-Profit Factor reflects HOT’s identification as a non-profit organization within the wider labor market.

Location Factor

The “Location Factor” aims to ensure staff members receive fair, comparable wages in relation to their peers at HOT, considering the relevant local market and costs. The “Location Factor” (now between 0.4 and 1.0) adjusts the “Role Base Salary” by taking into consideration: 1) the applicant pool of the position (national, regional, or global applicant pools are set at the start of the hiring process), and 2) the physical city location of the individual under consideration.*

HOT Location Factor Matrix


The source of our location bands now comes from:

  • Birches Group data - HOT is using this as a data source but has chosen a location factor that exceeds that found in Birches Group data for regional hub locations

During the 2020 review process, the location factor was compressed from 5x from lowest to highest band to 3.3x from lowest to highest band. This year in 2021, we compressed it even further to 2.5x from the lowest to the highest band as HOT strives to be a more equitable organization and prioritize local talent.

  • Staff are benchmarked against the closest major city to which they live. All benchmarking is compared to Washington, DC, which is HOT’s which is the location of HOT’s official global registration.
  • We no longer use national level salary data sources, as those skewed our calculations for countries where the urban-rural economic divide was significant.
  • In 2022, we made a bold decision to further compress our location bands to narrow the gaps from the lowest to the highest band and increase equity. The need to do this has been increasingly highlighted as we move more and more towards a “local first” talent strategy:
    • All Regional roles have the same Location Factor
    • All Global Nomads have the same Location Factor. Staff choosing to live outside of their ‘tax home’ are considered slightly differently from individuals living in their ‘tax home’ location. They fall into the Global Nomad category.
    • All other roles are based on a country-specific 2-tier system Location Factor. This means there are at most 2 location factors per country, which should not be more than 1/10th different from each other.

Personal Capital Factor

The “Personal Capital Factor” (from 1 to a maximum of 3) factors in applicable skills, level of responsibility, and demonstrated achievements unique to each individual. The Personal Capital Factor is set by the hiring manager & hiring Director at the time of hire and approved by HOT’s Director of Finance & Operations to ensure consistency across the organization. The default level for new positions is 1.0.

The Personal Capital Factor is reviewed and adjusted overtime to reflect staff growth and development within their roles on an annual basis.

Additional Earnings

“Additional Earnings” provides an additional 15% for contractors for whom HOT does not pay any local taxes or provide paid time off due to legal restrictions.

Benefits & Other Support

Beyond the Salary Framework, HOT provides additional support tailored to an individual’s location and type of contract. While staff may not receive the same support package as their peers in another location & situation, we work to ensure equity for everyone. The package includes:

  • Healthy staff reimbursement, allowance, or medical insurance options
  • Paid time off, or a contractor differential
  • Quarterly HOTliday (additional holiday provided to all staff and contractors)
  • Flexible Public Holidays
  • Home office allowance
  • Equipment allowance based on justified need
  • Book stipend
  • Learning & development opportunities
  • Coaching from the Humanitarian Coaching Network