What is job evaluation?

Job evaluation is the process of assessing the relative size of jobs in the organisation so that they can be placed in a rank order. It compares the size of one job with that of another in the same organisation and by this means is able to deduce which is the bigger. By comparing all jobs in this way the final rank order can be produced.

It is important to note that job evaluation is all about the relative size of jobs in a specific organisation. The fact that one job is bigger than another in one organisation does not mean that it would occupy the same relative position in a different organisation.

Job evaluation does not determine pay rates, it only helps the organisation decide how jobs should be grouped. The determination of the appropriate pay and benefits packages for different jobs comes at the end of the job evaluation exercise.

Why evaluate jobs?

There are a number of good reasons for evaluating jobs. The most important of these are:

· Most people want to feel that they are being rewarded fairly in relation to others in the organisation and job evaluation can help to ensure that rewards are allocated fairly between jobs;

· Job evaluation provides a more objective way of assessing job size;

· Judgements are made by managers about what jobs should be paid anyway, so it is better to do this systematically rather than on “gut-feel”;

· Depending on the method used, it can enable comparisons to be made between completely different types of jobs;

· Without a systematic method of job evaluation it might be difficult for the organisation to resist equal value claims (see below);

· Job evaluation can assist in salary planning and pay negotiations;

· Job evaluation can be a valuable tool in the analysis of an organisation and can help to identify any gaps or overlaps in responsibility.

Of course a systematic method of job evaluation may not be necessary for all organisations. In an organisation comprised of only a few employees the rank order of jobs will generally be obvious. Similarly in some environments the pay rates are determined solely by the market and trying to assess job size would be superfluous. Nevertheless, widely differing pay rates in such environments can lead to dissatisfaction among individuals.

There are of course some disadvantages to job evaluation. These include:

· No system of job evaluation can be completely objective and there will always be some who feel that the approach adopted does not adequately reflect their own jobs;

· Some systems can be time-consuming and costly to install and maintain;

· External consultancy will usually be required to introduce job evaluation;

· Many managers and employees prefer the vagueness surrounding non-analytical ways of determining job size as this gives more scope for negotiation and manipulation;

· Some systems may be difficult for employees to understand, thereby leading to suspicion and mistrust;

· The process of introducing job evaluation can bring to light organisational anomalies that many may have wished to keep hidden.

We at BCHR specialise in job evaluation and reward – contact us today.

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