Job evaluation basics

Job evaluation is a method of determining the rank order of jobs for the purposes of determining relative pay positions.

To be binding, the job evaluation scheme must be valid, in the sense that it must be non-discriminatory, objective and capable of impartial application.

Any job evaluation scheme must also be transparent. This principle was set out in the European Court Danfoss case in 1989 which established that a transparent pay system must allow employees to know the criteria by which their pay is determined, and how these criteria are applied to them.

Under the terms of the Equal Pay Act 1970 an applicant can claim equal pay with a named comparator of the opposite sex when employed on like work, work rated as equivalent under a job evaluation scheme and work of equal value.

A scheme must be analytical - which means that it must value a job under a common set of defined factors or criteria, which must be non discriminatory. Typical factors are knowledge, skills, effort, responsibilities, working conditions. This does differ across schemes though.

Job evaluation in higher education

In England, the HEFCE 'Rewarding and Developing Staff' initiative provided £330 million from 2001-2004 for human resource strategies, including for the introduction of institution wide job evaluation systems.

Round 2 of the initiative made available £167 million over 2 years from 2004-05. Again, job evaluation was central to the key criteria for successful funding.

This funding only applies to England and Northern Ireland, although in Wales the funding council has provided the resources for a pilot project to develop national (Welsh) grading structures using HERA.

Last updated: 24 October 2006