What Is the Paterson Job Grading System?

by Dora Diamond ; Updated September 26, 2017
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The Paterson grading system is an analytical method of job evaluation, used predominantly in South Africa. It analyzes decision-making in job task performance or job descriptions, and sorts jobs into six groups that are graded and grouped into two to three sub-grades--such as stress factors, individual tolerance, length of job and number of job responsibilities--that correspond to organizational levels. The six grades, also called bands, define pay scales.


According to "Classification of Jobs into Levels of Work: Four Reliability Studies," at the University of Zimbabwe, the Paterson system places job decision-making into six groups or bands--policy making, programming, interpretive, routine, automatic and defined. These groups correspond to the following organizational levels--top management, senior management, middle management, junior management and skilled positions, semi-skilled positions and unskilled positions.


Comprised of grades A through F, Paterson's grading system is listed below with an explanation of the corresponding graded decision making. An upper grade reflects a job requiring coordination or supervision, and a lower grade reflects non-coordinating jobs. A- Prescribed or defined decisions. Jobs are performed with limited training for grade A, and employees, such as unskilled workers, decide when and how fast to execute tasks. B, lower- Automatic or operative decisions B, upper- Coordinating, automatic decisions. Theory or systems knowledge for grade B is not required, though employees, such as semi-skilled workers, can decide where and when to perform operations. C, lower- Routine decisions C, upper- Coordinating, routine decisions Theory and/or systems knowledge for grade C is required, and employees, such as skilled workers or supervisory personnel, decide what has to be done--through knowledge and experience--for deterministic outcomes . D, lower- Interpretive decisions D, upper- Coordinating, interpretive decisions Grade D involves middle management's ability to optimize resources through decision-making about processes and procedures with planning programs or budgets one year ahead. E, lower- Programming decisions E, upper- Coordinating, programming decisions Grade E consists of senior management's cross-functional coordination--coordinating many departments--and strategic policy decisions made by top management, with plans made five years in advance. F, lower- Policy decisions F, upper- Coordinating, policy decisions Grade F consists of top management, such as a board or CEO who manages organizational scope and goals.

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Comparison to Castellion's Grading System

Paterson's grading system is more reliable than Castellion's grading system, based on a reliability study at the University of Zimbabwe. More students made errors in re-grading 18 jobs within the Castellion grading system, which is comprised of 16 grades.

About the Author

Based in Loganville, Ga., Dora Diamond has been writing articles since 1998. They have appeared in "The Gwinnett Post," "The Loganville Post," and "TAS Journal." Diamond holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in instructional design and performance improvement.

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