Frequently asked questions about job evaluation

Job evaluation

JOB evaluation is a systematic process of determining the relative worth of different jobs within an organisation. The various job evaluation systems focus on various factors inherent in a job that organisations can use to assess the relative value of jobs.

The Patterson system, for example, focuses on the scope of decision-making in each job. The Castellion system focuses on decision-making and other factors.

Why evaluation important?

Job evaluation is important because it helps organisations establish a fair and equitable employee pay structure. By determining the relative worth of different jobs, organisations can ensure that employees are paid fairly based on their skills, responsibilities, and qualifications.

More importantly, any job evaluation project must end with developing an equitable pay structure for your organisation.

Does it matter which job evaluation system a company uses?

Research shows that the results done using various job evaluations system are highly correlated, as high as 90%.

 The finding shows that regardless of the choice of a  job evaluation system, you will likely end up with the same rank order of jobs. However, in Zimbabwe, the most popular job evaluation systems are the Patterson system (at over 54% usage), followed by the Castellion with over 38% usage.

I would not worry about which job evaluation to use. What matters is how to handle the process from start to finish, which is called process equity.

Methods of job evaluation?

There are several job evaluation methods, including the point factor method, the ranking method, the classification method, and the factor comparison method.

Each method has advantages and disadvantages and may be more appropriate for certain organisations or industries.

At what stage should a company carry out job evaluation?

If a company has never had a job evaluation system, this can start when you are sure you have more than 10 job titles. The more people you employ in various roles, the more likely employees to complain about internal equity.

Employees start comparing earnings based on the scope and complexity of what they do. If they do not perceive equity, they will start complaining, and if these complaints are not addressed, they will move to other organisations.

For organisations with a job evaluation system already, a serious overhaul is needed when there are too many grading complaints. This often results from companies not having a structured job evaluation policy after they have completed the job evaluation exercise.

Allowing managers to move jobs into grades without going through formal grading of the jobs is a malpractice you should never allow if you want to maintain the credibility of your job evaluation system.

How do you conduct a job evaluation?

Organisations typically start by analysing jobs and preparing job descriptions.

The process of preparing job descriptions is often not done properly. Incumbents tend to inflate their jobs.

If management fails to do quality control on the job descriptions, the process of evaluating jobs is compromised, resulting in staff being unhappy with the job evaluation results.

Advantages evaluation?

The advantages of job evaluation include establishing a fair pay structure for employees based on their skills and qualifications, providing a basis for performance appraisals and career development plans, and helping organisations attract and retain talented employees.

How do you communicate the results of a job evaluation?

Communicating job evaluation results to employees is an important step in ensuring transparency and fairness in the process. It is recommended that organizations provide employees with a clear explanation of how the evaluation was conducted and what factors were considered.

This can be done through meetings, memos, or other forms of communication. It is also important to allow employees to ask questions and provide feedback on the results.

This can help address any concerns or misunderstandings and ensure employees understand how their pay is determined. In addition, organisations should be prepared to adjust their pay structure based on the job evaluation results.

This may involve increasing salaries for certain jobs.

In cases where a job evaluation project is redone using the same system, there will likely be some jobs that are going to be downgraded. In such cases, you can engage the employees individually and agree that their jobs have been downgraded, and there will be no immediate disadvantages to them.

When adjustments are made, they may receive less to align their pay to the new grade.

This does not affect benefits such as company cars, which can be changed on the next replacement anniversary date.


There is no way organisations can establish a fair and equitable pay system without a job evaluation process. Others have tried to ignore this process but will be forced by circumstances to do so. By then, the damage will have been done. 

  • Nguwi is an occupational psychologist, data scientist, speaker and managing consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and HR consulting firm. Phone +263 24 248 1 946-48/ 2290 0276, cell number +263 772 356 361 or e-mail: [email protected] or visit

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