Changes across job families

This series explores a discussion with IBM on changes across job families. The participants in this discussion were:


  • Jean Martin, Head of Product, Career Business, Mercer
  • Binny Rieder, VP Global Compensation and Recognition, IBM
  • Anshul Sheopuri, VP & CTO, Data and AI, IBM

Identifying scarce skills

The skills-based approach to compensation was rolled out across IBM – spanning all job families and skills. These included roles in communications and leadership positions that are soft-skills centered. The management at IBM observed differences in skillsets by looking at the data that was generated.


At the same time, the organization is not necessarily seeking out people who are experts in a certain segment, to enquire whether a skill is highly scarce or otherwise. Rather, IBM infers whether a skill is high scarcity or not by looking at aspects such as time to hire, the offer rejection ratio on the hire, the new salary of the hire, and the number of jobs in the market in that particular job category. Therefore, so long as IBM observes any differentiation along any of these data points, it automatically gets picked up in the organization’s data.

Identifying the differentiation

There is certainly less differentiation in skill sets from a soft-skills perspective, although it is acknowledged that it is natural to consider these as critical towards the company’s new compensation framework. In fact, it is easier for IBM’s management to have a conversation around more technical jobs and validate those. On the soft-skills front, there is less differentiation observed, but there is differentiation in those job categories as well.

Our experts

Jean Martin
Jean Martin
Head of Product, Career Business, Mercer

Other insights to skill based talent practices