Grouping jobs based on a set of rules for each group or class, such as amount of independent judgment, skill, physical effort, and so forth, required Classes usually contain similar jobs.
Job classification systems like the class system although grades often contain dissimilar jobs, such as secretaries, mechanics and fire fighters. Grade descriptions are written based on compensable factors listed in classification systems.
Job classification (or job grading) is a simple, widely used method in which categorizes 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 class 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 descriptions (similar to job descriptions) and place jobs into classes or grades based on how well they fit these descriptions. A second is to write 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.
The most popular procedure is to choose compensable factors and then develop class or grade descriptions for each class or grade in terms of the amount or level of the compensable factor(s) in those jobs. For example, the US government’s federal classification system uses the following compensable factors (1) difficulty and variety of work (2) supervision received and exercised (3) judgment exercised (4) originality required. (5) Nature and purposes if interpersonal work relationships, (6) responsibility (7) experience and (8) knowledge required. Based on these compensable factors, raters write a grade definition like that in Figure below
Example of a Grade Level definition
GS – 7
Nature of Assignment
Performs specialized duties to a defined functional or program area involving a wide variety of problems or situations; develops information, identifies Interrelationship and takes actions consistent with objectives of the function or program served.
Level of responsibility
Work is assigned in terms of objectives, priorities and deadlines, the employee works independently in resolving most conflicts, completed work is evaluated for conformance to policy, guidelines such as regulations precedent cases and policy statements require considerable interpretation and adaptation.
This one shows on grade description (GS – 7) for the federal government’s pay grade system. Then the evaluation committee reviews all job description and slots each job into its appropriate grade, by comparing each join description to the rules in each grade description .For instance the federal government system classifies the positions automotive mechanic, welder, electrician and machinist in grade GS – 10.
The classification method has several advantages. The main one is that most employers usually end up grouping jobs into classes anyway, regardless of the evaluation method they use. They do this to avoid having to work with and price separately dozens or hundreds of jobs. Of course the job classification automatically groups the employer’s jobs into classes. The disadvantages are that it is difficult to write the class or grade descriptions and considerable judgment is required to apply them. Yet many employers use this method with success.
The job evaluation method in which a number of compensable factors are identified and then the degree to which each of these factors is present on the job is determined.
The point method is a more quantitative technique. It involves identifying (1) several compensable factors, each having several degrees, as well as (2) the degree to which each of these factors is present job. Assume there is five degree of responsibility a job could contain. Further assume you assign a different number of points to each degree of each factor. Once the evaluation committee determines the degree to which each compensable factor (like responsibility and effort) is present in the job, it can calculate a total point value for the job by adding up the corresponding points for each factor. The result is a quantitative point rating for each job.