Compensation Structure

🚧 This page is under construction and is considered in complete 🚧

SPEC's compensation structure is designed to establish fair, equitable, and transparent pay for all contributors in the collective. It gives the collective clear guidelines for assigning initial pay rates, managing raises, and giving bonuses. In order for SPEC's compensation structure to be considered effective, it must dismantle pay practices based on inequitable factors, like past salary history and ineffective negotiation, and on inherent biases like gender or race. [1]

SPEC seeks to continuously improve its compensation structure through action research, deliberative conversations, open collaboration, and careful evaluation of its budget, productive capacity, and ongoing projects. SPEC's pay rates will be regularly revisited and adjusted to ensure fair and equitable compensation of contributors and financial sustainability of the collective. All decisions and changes related to the compensation structure will be published openly as part of SPEC's release notes.


SPEC leverages a collaborative approach to developing its compensation structure. This Collaborative Compensation Structure (CCS) is based on SPEC's core values and operating principles.

  1. Sustainability Through Systems Thinking

  2. Progress Through Open Collaboration

  3. Equality Through Mutual Reciprocity

The CCS embodies SPEC's core values through its application of the operating principles. When developing the CCS, we bring to mind the following sub-principles, with particular attention to the highlighted terms.

  1. Strive for openness in our research, communications, organizational process, finances, and data.

  2. Use critical awareness when building systems, rigorously examining assumptions and evaluating the conditions which give rise to them.

  3. Seek solutions that usher in improvement locally and globally by creating balance between economy, equity, and environment.

  4. Treat everyone in our communities with compassion, mutual respect, and accountability.

  5. Cultivate collaborative environments that facilitate deliberative conversations, provide psychological safety, and enable full and equitable participation of individuals from all social identities, backgrounds, and perspectives.

These principles are part of the recipe of creating sustainable progress and equality, and must be considered in all parts of organizational development, including compensation.

CCS Core Principles

The CCS Core principles operationalize the sub-principles and key concepts from the previous section. Each sub-principle from above has a corresponding CCS Core Principle below.

  1. Raise funds, pay contributors, and make financial decisions in full transparency.

  2. Approach compensation with critical awareness, rigorously examining and challenging assumptions about pay structure, performance evaluation, and raises.

  3. Strive to create balance between organizational success, financial sustainability, equity, and the welfare of our contributors, communities, and planet.

  4. Foster mutual respect with our community members, hold each other accountable, and fairly and compassionately compensate contributors.

  5. Ensure full and equitable participation of all our community members in the financial decision-making process and collaborative discourse about compensation.

Contributor Levels

Please note the contributor levels below are a work in progress. They were developed to reflect SPEC's current organizational structure. The contributor levels will be revisited and expanded as the roles of contributors change and grow over time.




Manager responsible for the collective's overall operations, organizational development, programs, strategic vision, and financial sustainability.



Supervisor responsible for overseeing people, projects, processes, and execution of the collective's strategic plan.



Coordinator responsible for supporting organizational development, ongoing projects, and providing peer support, mentorship, and guidance to junior contributors, new members, and external stakeholders.



Leader responsible for finding and launching a project, arranging financing, hiring contributors, coordinating with core team, and overseeing all elements of pre-production, production and post-production, right up to release of projects and services.



Expert responsible for providing subject matter expertise, technical guidance, mentorship, and critical problem solving abilities.



Individual contributor responsible for completing assigned tasks, conducting research, project deliverables, providing feedback, and documenting learnings.

For more information about contributor levels click the link below to navigate to the Contributor Levels page.

pageContributor Levels

Pay Bands

2021 - 2022 Fiscal Year

SPEC has made three important decisions for Q4 2021 related to pay bands.

  1. All of our L3/M3 contributors have volunteered to donate their time and receive no compensation. In the future, SPEC may hire L3/M3 contributors that take a salary, at which time their rate will be revisited. All contributors will have the ability to wave compensation and work on a voluntary basis.

  2. The pay rate for level 1 contributors will be discussed at the end of Q4 in collaboration with SPEC's current cohort of level 1 research associates.

Below are the current pay bands for Q4 2021

LevelRate (Per Hour)














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