Job Evaluation Methods


The simplest job evaluation method ranks each job relative to all other jobs, usually based on some overall factor like “job difficulty”. There are several steps in the job ranking method.

Obtain job information: Job analysis is the first step: Job descriptions for each job are prepared and the information they contain about the job’s duties is usually the basis for rankings jobs. Sometimes job specifications are also prepared. However, the ranking method usually ranks jobs according to the whole job, rather than a number of compensable factors. Therefore, job specifications which list the job’s demand in terms of problem solving, decision making skills, for instance are not as necessary with this method as they are for other job evaluation methods.

Select and group jobs: It is often practical to make ranking for all jobs in an organization. The usual procedure is to rank jobs by department or in clusters such as factory worker or clerical workers. This eliminates the need for direct comparison of say factory and clerical jobs.

Select compensable factors: In the ranking method, it is common to use just one factor such as job difficulty and to rank based on the whole job. Regardless of the number of factors you choose, it’s advisable to explain the definition of the factor(s) to the evaluators carefully so that they evaluate the jobs consistently.

Rank jobs: For example, give each rater a set of index cards, each of which contains a brief description of a job. Then they rank these cards from lowest to highest. Some managers use an “alternation ranking method” for making the procedure more accurate. Here you take the cards, first choosing the highest and the lowest, then the next highest and next lowest, and so forth until you’ve ranked all the cards. Jobs in this small health facility are ranked from orderly up to office manager. The corresponding pay scales are on the right. After ranking, it is possible to slot additional jobs between those already ranked and to assign an appropriate wage rate.

Combine ratings: Usually, several raters rank the jobs independently. Then the rating committee (or the employer) can simply average the rankings.

This is the simplest job evaluation method, as well as the easiest to explain. And it usually takes less time than other methods.

Some of its drawbacks derive more from how it’s used than from the method itself. For example, there’s a tendency to rely too heavily on “guesstimates.” Similarly ranking provides no yardstick for quantifying the value of one job relatives to another. For example, job number 4 may in fact be five times “more valuable” than job number 5, but with the ranking system all you know is that one job ranks higher than the other. Ranking is usually more appropriate for small organizations that can’t afford the time or expense of developing a more elaborate system.

Job classification (or job grading) is a simple, widely used method in which raters categorize jobs into groups; all the jobs in each group are of roughly the same value for pay purposes. The groups are called classes if they contain similar jobs or grades if they contain jobs that are similar in difficulty but otherwise different. Thus, in the federal government’s pay grade system a “press secretary” and a “fire chief” might both be graded “GS – 10” (GS stands for “General Schedule”) On the other hand, in its job system, the state of Florida might classify all “secretary IIs” in one class, all “maintenance engineers” in another, and so forth.

There are several ways to actually categorize jobs. One is to write class or grade description (similar to job descriptions) and place jobs into classes or grades based on how well they fit these descriptions. Another is to draw up a set of compensable factor based rules for each class, for instance, how much independent judgment, skill, physical effort and so on, does the class of jobs require? Then categorize the jobs according to these rules.

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