Job Evaluation

Job Evaluation - What is it ?

Job evaluation is a practical technique, designed to enable trained and experienced staff to judge the size of one job relative to others. It does not directly determine pay levels, but will establish the basis for an internal ranking of jobs.

The two most common methods of job evaluation that have been used are first, whole job ranking, where jobs are taken as a whole and ranked against each other. The second method is one of awarding points for various aspects of the job. In the points system various aspects or parts of the job such as education and experience required to perform the job are assessed and a points value awarded - the higher the educational requirements of the job the higher the points scored. The most well known points scheme was introduced by Hay management consultants in 1951. This scheme evaluates job responsibilities in the light of three major factors - know how, problem solving and accountability.

Some Principles of Job Evaluation

Job Evaluation - The Future

As organisations constantly evolve and new organisations emerge there will be challenges to existing principles of job evaluation. Whether existing job evaluation techniques and accompanying schemes remain relevant in a faster moving and constantly changing world, where new jobs and roles are invented on a regular basis, remains to be seen. The formal points systems, used by so many organisations is often already seen to be inflexible. Sticking rigidly to an existing scheme may impose barriers to change. Constantly updating and writing new jobs together with the time that has to be spent administering the job evaluation schemes may become too cumbersome and time consuming for the benefits that are derived.

Does this mean that we will see existing schemes abandoned or left to fall into disrepute ? Will providers of job evaluation schemes examine and, where necessary, modify them to ensure they are up to date and relevant ? Simply sticking rigidly to what is already in place may not be enough to ensure their survival.

Job Evaluation - More

Job evaluation is essentially one part of a tripartite subject, which is collectively referred to as Job Study (other names exist). The three parts are Job Analysis; Job Evaluation - the information collected is evaluated using a numerical scale or ranking and rating methodology; and Merit Rating - BSI definition (32542).

BSI definition - 32529 – “Any method ranking the relative worth of jobs which can then be used as a basis for a remuneration system”

It is essentially a comparative process.

Job evaluation evaluates selected job factors, which are regarded as important for the effective performance of the job, according to one of several alternative methods. The resulting numerical gradings can form the basis of an equitable structure of job gradings. The job grades may or may not be used for status or payment purposes.


Job Evaluation is concerned with measuring the demands the job places on its holder. Most factors that contribute to this job pressure, e.g. physical strength required, knowledge of mathematics required, are assessed and the result is a numerical estimate of the total job pressure. When evaluations are carried out on all hourly paid personnel the technique’s uses include establishing relative wage rates for different tasks. It is possible to use it for all grades of personnel, even senior management.


The Time Span of Discretion is an interesting and unusual method of job evaluation developed by Elliot Jaques for the Glacier Metal Company. In this method the job pressure is assessed according to the length of time over which managers decisions commit the company. A machine operative, for example, is at any moment committing the company only for the period needed to make one product unit or component. The manager who buys the machine is committing the company for ten years.

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