91. Job Evaluation Briefing
The aim of job evaluation is to provide a systematic
and consistent approach to defining the relative worth of jobs
within a workplace, single plant or multiple site organisation.
It is a process whereby jobs are placed in a rank order according
to overall demands placed upon the job holder. It therefore provides
a basis for a fair and orderly grading structure.
Job evaluation does not determine actual pay. That
is a separate operation, normally the subject of negotiation between
management and employees and their trade union representatives.
Only the job is evaluated, not the person doing it. It is a technique
of job analysis, assessment and comparison and it is concerned
with the demands of the job, such as the experience and the responsibility
required to carry out the job. It is not concerned with the total
volume of work, the number of people required to do it, the scheduling
of work, or the ability of the job holder. Several techniques
of job evaluation have developed, varying in approach. Some involve
an examination of jobs according to criteria such as skill, responsibility
and working conditions. Others are less complex.
Why introduce job evaluation?
It can be beneficial when the existing grading
structure is in need of review
It can help establish or maintain the credibility
and acceptability of a grading system
Job evaluation facilitates the accommodation
of new or revised jobs into the grading structure
It can be used by organisations as a basis
for job matching and external pay comparisons
Properly introduced and maintained job evaluation
can help lay the foundation of fair and orderly pay structures
and thus improve relationships.
Job evaluation and Equal Pay
The Equal Pay Act and the Equal Pay (Amendment)
Regulations, make it especially important to maintain a fair and
orderly grading structure. Job evaluation may be helpful as a
means of ensuring that a grading structure is fair and equitable.
Before undertaking job evaluation and devising an appropriate
grading structure, organisations should bear in mind how equal
pay legislation and equal value case law impacts on job evaluation.
The case of Bromley and Others v H J Quick is of particular significance.
In this case the Court of Appeal ruled that a job evaluation scheme
must be analytical if it is to succeed as a defence to an equal
value claim. Achieving equal pay is a key UNISON objective. It
has been the main imperative behind a number of national pay initiatives
with employers in recent years including the single status agreements
in local government, Agenda for Change in the NHS, and new pay
and grading agreements in higher and further education and the
police service. Job Evaluation was part of the single status agreement
in local government in Scotland in 1999, which was to be implemented
by 2002. This was then extended to 2004, as the employers were
unable to meet the initial date. To date no local authorities
have implemented an agreed job evaluation scheme. UNISON and the
other trade unions are currently pursuing a strategy to deliver
pay equality in Scottish local Government using the job evaluation
scheme or legal remedies as appropriate.
Job evaluation is most effective as a participative
exercise and this in itself can improve employment relations.
It is important to decide on the job evaluation system jointly
with the trade unions. If the scheme is not developed in a participative
way, this could lead to less employee commitment to the results.
Deloitte & Touche, DLA MCG Consulting, ER Consultants, Hay
Management Consultants Ltd., Hewitt Bacon & Woodrow, and Inbucon
are some of the larger well-known organisations providing Job
Protection of existing pay rates
Job evaluation may result in some existing employees'
jobs being placed in a lower grade which does not equate with
their current pay rate, some at a higher grade and some remaining
at the same rate. It is recommended that a policy on how to deal
with such situations should be considered and, if possible, agreement
reached before embarking on job evaluation. Where it is decided
that in such situations the current wage for existing employees
will be retained, this process is known as 'red circling'. Although
long-term red circling may be unlawful sex-discrimination.
What kind of job evaluation scheme?
Analytical - Points rating
This is a commonly used job evaluation technique.
It is an analytical method which breaks down each job into a number
of factors; for example, skill, responsibility and effort, with
the factors sometimes being further broken down into sub-factors,
for example, education, decision making and dexterity. These sub-factors
will be further divided into degrees or levels. Points are awarded
for each factor according to a predetermined scale and the total
points decide a job's place in the ranking order. The factors
should reflect the varying degrees of importance attached to them.
Care must be taken to ensure that the weightings do not result
in a sex-biased scheme - for example, by attaching an unjustified
weighting to the physical strength factor at the expense of manual
dexterity. The limitations of points rating are that it is time
consuming to introduce and can be complex and costly to undertake.
In addition it can be seen to be inflexible in times of rapid
change and can imply an arithmetical precision which is not justified.
Evaluating remaining jobs
The validation of the factor plan against benchmark
jobs is essential before evaluating all other jobs. Once the factor
plan has been tested, all other jobs should be evaluated and put
in rank order. The job evaluation committee should then agree
the rank order of jobs from which a grading structure can be prepared,
and recommend it to the appropriate joint negotiating forum.
The next stage is for the organisation to decide
how to implement the conclusions, prepare a grading structure,
communicate this to employees and deal with any appeals. The grading
structure should be agreed by negotiation and should establish
the number of grades, the span of points for each grade and the
related pay ranges.
Job evaluation will involve change, even though
the change may only affect some jobs. Commitment to change will
be essential, with both management and trade unions agreeing from
the outset that they will act upon the results. Before starting
a job evaluation exercise, there needs to be agreement on the
best means of regularly reporting progress. This is especially
important if the exercise is to be a large or long one, or involving
employees in several locations. One method is to issue regular
joint bulletins. All employees affected by the proposed evaluation
should be kept informed of what is happening.
Dealing with appeals
No matter how carefully the job evaluation exercise
has been undertaken, there may be individual employees who consider
that their job has been wrongly evaluated. A procedure for hearing
appeals should therefore be established before publication of
the initial results, and appeals should be heard on the basis
of the agreed job description. Appeals should be made within a
set time-scale and may be considered in the first instance by
the original job evaluation committee.
The training of members of job evaluation panels
is important, as consultants are usually only involved in the
initial round of evaluations.
Job evaluation is not a once and for all exercise
and procedures must be devised to keep the scheme up to date.
It is essential for someone in the organisation to have a continuing
knowledge of the scheme. If the scheme is not regularly maintained,
the initial problems which gave rise to the need for job evaluation
may re-emerge and the scheme will fall into decay and disrepute.
If maintenance is carried out, the scheme will last longer and
should continue to be acceptable.