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Job Evaluation

In the light of changes in environmental conditions (technology, products, services, etc.) jobs need to be examined closely. For example, the traditional work culture has pivoted from an office environment to work from home or a hybrid structure that involves both. With the advent of these new structures’ jobs may require new skill sets to accommodate the changing needs of an organization. New job descriptions need to be written and the required skills of new jobs need to be duly incorporated in the evaluation process. Otherwise, employees may feel that all the relevant job factors – based on which their pay has been determined – have not been evaluated properly.

Important work-related variables leading to job satisfaction include challenging work, interesting job assignments, equitable rewards, competent management and rewarding careers.  Pay constitutes a quantitative measure of an employee’s relative worth.  It is essential that pay be equitable in terms of one’s contributions but also in terms of what other employees are receiving for their contributions.

Organizations with formal compensation programs are more likely to rely on Job Evaluation systems to determine pay rates.  Job evaluations are widely used in all sectors, both public and private. Job evaluation is a systematic process for defining the relative worth or size of jobs within an organization to establish internal relativities and provide the basis for designing an equitable grade and pay structure, grading jobs in the structure and managing relativities. 

Job evaluation can be analytical or non-analytical.

Analytical job evaluation schemes

These are schemes in which decisions about the value or size of jobs are based on an analysis of the extent to which various defined factors or elements are present in a job. These factors should be present in all the jobs to be evaluated and the different levels at which they are present indicate relative job value. The most common analytical approach is a points-factor scheme where there is a ‘factor plan’ which defines the factors and their levels and attaches scores to each level. Following job analysis, scores for each factor are awarded and then totaled. On completion of an evaluation program, the total scores for jobs indicate their rank order. This type of scheme can meet the requirements of pay equity law as long as it is not in itself discriminatory either in its design or application. To ensure that equity considerations are catered for in an organization, it is preferable to use only one scheme which must therefore be designed to cover the key features of each category of job at every level.

Non-analytical job evaluation schemes

Non-analytical job evaluation schemes do not meet the requirements of pay equity legislation.

Job evaluation, especially analytical job evaluation, enables a frame-work to be designed which underpins grading and therefore pay decisions. It is particularly important as a means of achieving equal pay for work of equal value.  Job evaluation is just as concerned with achieving equal pay regardless of race or disability or indeed age.

Aims of job evaluation

Job evaluation aims to:

  • establish the relative value or size of jobs, i.e., internal relativities;
  • produce the information required to design and maintain equitable and defensible grade and pay structures;
  • provide as objective as possible a basis for grading jobs within a grade structure, thus enabling consistent decisions to be made about job grading;
  • ensure that the organization meets ethical and legal equal pay for work of equal value obligations;
  • The last aim is important – analytical job evaluation plays a crucial part in achieving equal pay for work of equal value;

A fundamental aim of any process of job evaluation is to ensure that, as far as possible, consistent judgements are made based on objective assessment.

It could be claimed that every time a decision is made on what a job should be paid it requires a form of job evaluation. Job evaluation is therefore unavoidable, but it should not be an intuitive, subjective, and potentially biased process. The challenge is how best to carry out Job evaluations fairly and consistently while being transparent, analytical, consistent, and objective, without being bureaucratic or resource intensive.

By Sheila Fitzgerald, a Senior Consultant with ASSOCIUM.


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