Evaluation of equitable jobs

Job evaluation or sizing is the process to work out the ‘size‘ of a job relative to other jobs that are similar or the same in value.

Job evaluation, or job-sizing, enables organisations to understand internal relativities and compare similar sized jobs to external market rates, even where jobs may be unique or rare in a particular sector or industry. 

Job evaluation works well in organisations where there is a need for greater rigour and transparency to their process of setting remuneration and is essential to underpin grading or banding models.

Factors to be used in sizing or evaluation of a job

Typical factors used in assessing job size include:

  • skills and knowledge
  • experience (senior or junior)
  • responsibility
  • demands and effort
  • working conditions
  • relativity with other similar jobs

In addition to establishing relativities among jobs within an organisation, job evaluation can also be used to consistently compare jobs across organisations. Job evaluation schemes provide a clear and fair measure of the relative value of jobs within and across organisations but do not directly determine rates of pay.

Job evaluation is recognised internationally as a useful tool to help achieve gender equity in pay and employment conditions, but it can be affected by unintentional gender bias at any stage of the process of describing, analysing and evaluating jobs. Putting in place an equitable job evaluation system can address aspects of job evaluation that have been found to tend towards gender bias.

Reducing gender biases

Gender bias in job evaluation is less likely to occur when:

  • evaluators are trained in job evaluation and how to recognise and avoid gender bias
  • there is transparency when designing and planning job evaluation projects
  • there is good communication throughout the project
  • the job evaluation system measures all the characteristics of all the jobs
  • processes and results are carefully documented
  • there is ongoing monitoring and evaluation of outcomes by gender.

Gender bias is often not intentional and can occur in any of the processes involved in describing, analysing and evaluating jobs. Most commonly, gender bias in job evaluation occurs when assumptions are made about the nature and value of work in jobs that are mainly done by women or mainly done by men.

This is often because some skills are difficult to observe, especially those used in services involving changing interactions with people over time, and some skills are overlooked or undervalued, for example, if they are similar to unpaid domestic work, such as looking after others, cleaning and cooking.

A better understanding of the skills used in service work, which can be overlooked or taken for granted, and especially skills used in interacting and relating, coordinating and shaping awareness.

Jobs evaluation systems

An equitable job evaluation system or tool address the aspects of job evaluation that have been found to give rise to gender bias. It is designed to capture all relevant information about jobs to minimise gender bias. This includes identifying, assessing and measuring (putting a value on) skills, knowledge, responsibility and working conditions that are factors in a job, but may have been overvalued.

The following tools can help businesses to evaluate or size jobs.

Spotlight Skills Identification Tool [PDF, 595 KB]

Spotlight: A skills recognition tool [PDF, 1.3 MB]

A guide to the gender – inclusive Job Evaluation Standard [PDF, 162 KB]

Gender Bias in Job Evaluation: A Resource Collection [PDF, 450 KB]

Benefits of equitable job evaluation

Equitable job evaluation reduces reliance on assumptions and makes values transparent. The implementation of equitable job evaluation can:

  • help with identification of appropriate training and career development
  • improve performance
  • improve service delivery
  • help employees feel more valued and better supported
  • help attract and retain competent employees
  • help ensure employees are paid appropriately. 

Other resources

There is plenty of research and case law on gender bias in job evaluation. The publication ‘Gender Bias in Job Evaluation: A Resource Collection’ includes some key cases, guidelines and research.

Gender Bias in Job Evaluation: A Resource Collection [PDF, 450 KB]

The April 2009 United Kingdom decision in Hartley v Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, provides detailed reasoning and guidance on job evaluation and gender bias.

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