A job evaluation determines its value relative to other jobs in a company or industry. Ideally, the job description defines the skills and experience required to perform the tasks, regardless of who does the work. You conduct job evaluations for a number of reasons, among them to ensure your employees are receiving equal pay for equal work and to address race, gender, age or other discriminatory inequalities.
In the United States, equal employment opportunity by race and gender has been in force since passage of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963. Despite this legislation, many people still work at lower pay rates and with fewer chances for advancement than their peers. To fix wage discrimination issues, jobs can be evaluated and compared based on skills, knowledge, responsibility and working conditions required to complete the work.
Pay-equity policies are established at the federal, state, local or company levels. A job evaluation serves to classify work within a company. Studying the wages associated with jobs and the people completing the work will reveal inequities that can then be addressed. Traditionally, jobs requiring physical effort (jobs held by men) were valued more than service roles (typically held by women) yet both play an important role in a company's success. Job evaluations expose these inconsistencies.
Job evaluations are classified as job-ranking, comparison, benchmarking or matching. Ranking involves ordering jobs based on time of service on the job. In comparison job evaluation, you examine job functions in pairs to uncover similarities and discrepancies. Benchmarking involves comparing a company job description to an industry standard. When matching jobs, you establish a point system to determine a score for each job. Then, you analyze jobs relative to their significance in your company. These techniques can be used together to conduct a robust job evaluation at your company.
Job evaluations can be conducted through questionnaires or interviews or by writing job descriptions for comparison. Maintaining anonymity to ensure a nonbiased approach is a key to success. Scrutinizing jobs to ensure equal pay is a time-consuming and tedious process, requiring intensive attention to detail. There are often legal implications, so take care to do a thorough job that can be defended.
Job evaluations are not intended to address the appraisal of individuals completing the work or predict employee accomplishments. Instead, use performance management and appraisal techniques to assess employee work habits and the ability to complete work reliably and effectively that align to your company's strategic vision.
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.