Job evaluation is a process of using a tested system – whether it is Paterson or any other evaluation method – to determine the relative value of the jobs within the organisation.

It involves the ranking of jobs by using either a point system or any other tool that will characterise the jobs or positions in terms of their responsibilities and complexities.

Key characteristics of the evaluation process include objectivity, validity, defensibility, reliability and consistency.

The purpose of a proper evaluation system is to establish a logical basis for salary benchmarking. This enables the organisation to determine whether similar positions within the organisation are aligned to each other, ensuring internal parity It is equally important to ensure that positions within the organisations compete favourably with similar positions in the same market, in turn establishing external parity.

Job profiles

Job profiles or Job descriptions form the basis for evaluation of jobs, the remuneration and organisational structuring. It is therefore crucial that they are correct and a true reflection of what the job entails in terms of complexities and responsibilities.

The profiles are compiled through personal interviews with the incumbent, the line manager, and for purposes of good governance even representatives from the human resources department and/or the union (should there be an active union(s) present at the organisation).

It is critical to ask as various probing questions about every aspect of the job. This may include: the incumbent’s qualifications; years and level of experience; key responsibilities; who they report to; if they have a budget and size of the budget; and whether people are reporting to them and if so, how many.

Job profiles are a legal requirement to have in place in every organisation for each job. Every employee has the right to understand what their purpose and title in the organisation is, and what their job responsibilities include.

Examples of when to evaluate jobs;

  • If the company does not have an evaluation system in place at all.
  • New jobs are created, and they must be allocated within the current organisational structure.
  • There has been a merger or redundancy of departments, or the structure of the organisation has changed dramatically or more than 80%.
  • 80% or more of the current job requirements or responsibilities have changed.

The evaluation process

When embarking on the process of job evaluation it is extremely important to evaluate the job and its requirements and NOT the individual employee appointed in the position. Consider how you will advertise the position – what qualifications, experience and characteristics would you note to fulfil the requirements of the job.

It is never advisable to evaluate a position in isolation. You have to have a consolidated view of the organisation to understand where each position fits in and where the jobs report in to.

Without doing so you may find yourself in the position where you have evaluated a job higher than the job of the position it is reporting to, for instance That will skew the whole organisations’ evaluation results, and in the end the salary benchmarking influencing the pay parity.

Ensure that all the job profiles are up to date and they are a true reflection of the responsibilities, complexities and tasks the job requires.

Put aside ample time for a proper job evaluation process. It is a time consuming process and should not be rushed.

Resist any temptation to skip the part where you need to stand back to validate and calibrate your evaluation results. If there are errors or misalignments it will flow through to the rest of the linked processes that ultimately influences your salary structuring and equal pay for work of equal value.

The evaluation system

There is a plethora of existing evaluation systems in the market, including Paterson, Peromnes ©, REMeasure © and Hay ©, JE Manager © ect. Ultimately the decision on which one to use boils down to time, costs and complexity.

Several of these systems have intellectual property rights. This means that the designers have the sole right to use is.

Paterson – a non-points-based evaluation system – has no IP rights and it is widely used in internationally. With the Paterson system jobs are evaluated in terms of their decision-making and complexity levels. It is a fairly simple, easy to use system and information is freely available.

Many of the existing systems have not been updated over the years accordingly.  As the world of work has changed so dramatically your question should be if your Job evaluation methodology should not be adapted too?  The new workplace and jobs require and value elements such as emotional intelligence, adaptability to change and flexibility.

These elements are crucial when organisations are preparing for the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Is your organisation ready to adapt?


Janine O’Riley - Psychometrist and Reward Specialist

Janine O’Riley
Psychometrist and Reward Specialist