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ALTA Compensation Index Helps Title Agents Evaluate Salary, Benefits Packages

Benchmarking is an important tool and worthwhile investment for human resource departments to help support the organization by attracting and retaining the talents needed while managing salaries and costs of the organization in the right manner.

From a staff perspective, it is important to ensure fair salaries in terms of internal and external benchmarking. To help the title industry with this, ALTA created the Title & Settlement Services Industry Compensation Index. The Compensation Index is designed to help professionals easily examine the full value of their compensation packages and compare their business to competitors. It can compare salary rates for existing positions and assist in analyzing the current market for new roles.

Compensation index sampleJennifer Luedtke, human resources manager for Town n’ Country Title in Wisconsin, said her company took the time to complete the survey because she believes it will better the industry.

“This information will help set a standard across our markets for compensation and open up ideas to see what others are offering for benefits,” she said. “We have nine branches and completing all of the data took quite some time, but it was well worth it. The ALTA team put a lot of time and effort into developing this tool for us, so it was a no-brainer to participate.”

Frank Pellegrini, president and CEO of Prairie Title in Illinois, also sees the importance of the project because it allows him to benchmark his company’s salary and benefit offerings with other similar companies in the region.

“This will help us be competitive in attracting the best and brightest candidates for positions in our company,” he said. “In addition, this information will help groom future leaders in our businesses and in our industry.”

Having concrete salary data consequently eases communication to employees and managers. From an economic point of view, employee costs are typically one of the major cost items within the organization. This means human resources is a key cost driver. Benchmarking helps to make the right decisions in terms of salary management and influences the cost management of the organization. These two aspects have a significant impact on risk management when considering losing key talent as well as incurring escalating costs.

ALTA’s Compensation Index provides results showing the 25th percentile, median and 75th percentile of responses—as well as where a company falls—in easy-to-read graphs.

Companies that have completed all the required questions in the Compensation Index can examine the national aggregate results. All company data is collected through a secure third party. Individual data is kept confidential.

Pellegrini plans to use the survey results to help compare their compensation structures to prevailing trends.

“We will be better equipped to evaluate our programs and adjust where we think necessary,” he said.

While results weren’t surprising, Pellegrini said the information extracted confirmed some of his company’s approaches, while simultaneously suggesting areas that need review, adjustment or enhancement.

“I have learned over the years that every hire is unique,” Pellegrini said. “What is essential to one candidate may be nearly meaningless to the next. I don’t see the survey results changing my approach in this respect, but there is no substitute for reliable information. With access to a greater pool of ideas, we can approach the recruitment process with more confidence.”

Luedtke also plans to use the data to better project their future compensation structure and build a richer benefits package.

“I want to make sure that our company is staying competitive and we are offering the best we can to our employees,” she said.

Luedtke agreed that the results aren’t too surprising. As a small, family owned business, the company must remain competitive with others in their market.

“It was nice to gather some ideas for benefits we may be able to offer in the future,” Luedtke said.

The Compensation Index provided this needed data and will help provide the baseline for when Town n’ Country Title updates its compensation structure in 2020.

“Our roles are hybrids of two or more positions as one, such as title examiner and searcher, so making sure that we are in an average range of those positions is necessary," Luedtke said. "In addition, pricing out benefits every year is something we already do, but being creative on what we can offer to make the overall compensation more desirable to the employee will be added.”

Compensation Index FAQs

  • Take the survey and view results: alta.org/compensation
  • Who can enter data? The primary contact or a designated individual can complete the Compensation Index on behalf of each company location.
  • Who can review the results? Because of the highly sensitive nature of the data contained in the survey, full access to the Compensation Index is restricted to a location’s primary contact and/or the designated individual.
  • When the results be available? Data is available now. Participants can filter results to compare themselves with other companies as well as download Excel reports and PowerPoint slides. However, a minimum of five data points must meet the filter requirements for the results to display.
  • What data will I need to enter?
    • Company demographics by location (state, revenue, staffing numbers, expenses, etc.)
    • Compensation data by position (rates, bonuses, hours worked, etc.)
    • Information on the benefits packages your company offers


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