National Remuneration Centre
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Generic Job Evaluation

The various roles that make up an organisation are each designed to make a specific contribution towards the functioning of the organisation. The required contribution is usually stated in the role's job description.

As well as differing types of contribution, roles can make differing levels of contribution. These differing levels of contribution are frequently interpreted in terms of a pay hierarchy within the organisation. To ensure internal equity within the organisation, jobs designed to make equal levels of contribution are equally assigned in the pay hierarchy. The significant question that arises here is the determination of equal contribution. This determination is compounded where the nature of the contributions is disparate.

Various methods have been developed to address this matter - they fall into two categories: comparative description (as in a job grading structure), and quantitative assessment (such as job evaluation). There is considerable debate for and against each method and some of those arguments are detailed at This paper will focus on the job evaluation approach and present a proposition as to how such a methodology might address the substantive issue of the disparate nature of jobs. In presenting the case, we will use the Jobscore® system to illustrate the principles proposed.

We will propose that jobs fall into two broad types: those that provide specialised services and those that coordinate activities. Examples of these two might be an organisation's Chief Legal Counsel and its Chief Manufacturing Executive. These two positions might well make equally substantive contributions to the organisation, but determining that they are equal is the challenge. This dichotomy extends to all levels of position. For example, at the other end of the scale of jobs, we cite the unqualified labourer providing the very low-level specialised service of unpacking a crate (the job is specialised because it performs the single activity of crate unpacking). As a coordinating role (again at a very low level), we cite the deliverer of pamphlets to mailboxes.

The area of the rectangle gives a measure of the job's contribution. As the degree of specialisation (or depth of specialisation) increases or decreases, so the area of the rectangle increases or decreases, and accordingly the measure of the job's contribution. Similarly, as the job's coordinating role (or breadth, or span of control) increases or decreases, so the area of the rectangle changes, and accordingly the measure of the job's contribution.

Jobs that require a high degree of specialisation tend to have a narrow span or control; those with a broad span of control do not require the degree of specialisation normally provided by expert advisors. Jobs therefore tend to have one or other of the following 'profiles':

Specialised jobs have a deep focus on a narrow area. Coordinator jobs have a working knowledge of several areas. The shapes of the two rectangles above illustrate this. Importantly, it shows that the dissimilar nature of the jobs can lead to an assessment of equal contribution to the organisation, as presented by the equal areas of the two rectangles in the above example.

This simple two-dimensional model is sufficient to form the basis of a sophisticated job evaluation system. The first step is to interpret aspects of jobs in terms of the two dimensions: depth and breadth. The second step is to indentify levels of progression in each aspect of a job (for example, levels of expertise in a particular skill, or levels of responsibility for achieving a particular objective). The third step is to quantify each level within each job aspect. These measures when applied to a job - called the job evaluation process - gives the height and width of a rectangle, and hence the rectangle's area which is the measure of the job's contribution to the organisation.

Jobscore identifies aspects of the job as well as the complexity of the organisation containing the job because organisational complexity influences the level of skill required to conduct the organisation's affairs.

The Jobscore job and organisation factors, their categorisation as either specialised or coordinating, and the number of levels into which each factor is divided are given in the following table.

Job Factors
Written Communication Skills Specialist 10
Speaking & Listening Skills Specialist 9
Numeracy Specialist 7
Computer Usage Skill Specialist 8
Artistic Skill Specialist 6
Physical Skill Specialist 3
Care (in the welfare sense) Specialist 5
Law and Legislative Procedure Specialist 8
Research, Analysis & Information Management Specialist 8
Financial Resources Management Specialist 7
Human Resources Management Specialist 5
Functional Breadth Coordinating 12
Proficiency Specialist 10
Problem Solving Specialist 8
Accountability for Capital Assets Coordinating 11
Accountability for Customer Service Coordinating 11
Impact Coordinating 7
Organisation Factors
Market Diversity Coordinating 3
Product Diversity Coordinating 3
Geographic Scope of Operations Coordinating 6
Industry Sector Coordinating 25
Revenue/Budget Coordinating Annual Dollar Value

All factors identified as "Specialist" contribute to the depth of our rectangle model, while those marked "Coordinating" to its breadth. In Jobscore, the individual factors make differing contributions to their dimension and not all factors apply to every job.


30 September 2012


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