Determining the value of the work

Job evaluation

The job evaluation process measures the value of the work done within an organization or workplace. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine the relative value of each position or role. The evaluation is about the work itself, not its market value or the person in the position.

Choosing a job evaluation method

The job evaluation method must meet the following criteria:

  • it must account for skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions;
    • skill: the knowledge, skill and experience that are needed to perform the work, such as knowledge of the field of work, motor skills or communication skills.
    • effort: required to perform the tasks associated with the position. This can be physical or intellectual/cognitive effort, such as maintaining uncomfortable positions or concentration for long periods.
    • responsibility: accountability for resources, such as human, financial and technical resources, and outcomes, such as safety and risk.
    • working conditions: conditions and environmental factors associated with performing the work. This includes the physical environment of the job, such as temperature and noise, as well as its psychological environment, for example mental stress.
  • it must be equitable and consistent. This means a single tool and method must be used for the plan (or for each plan, in the case of multiple plans); and,
  • it must be gender-inclusive.

All of these criteria must be met to ensure that factors associated with work generally performed by women are not overlooked or undervalued. Examples include:

Skill Fine motor skills (dexterity)
Multi-tasking skills
Clerical skills and knowledge (various computer software, data entry, calendar and email management, etc.)
Correspondence writing and editing
Office management and operation
Client service skills (empathy, communication, etc.)
Counselling and interviewing
Effort Lifting light objects on a regular basis
Dealing with dissatisfied or aggressive customers
Intense concentration over long periods of time
Responsibility Staff (training, supervision, etc.)
Material resources (supplies, office equipment etc.)
Handling confidentiality
Coordination of work and schedules
Working conditions Frequent interruptions
Urgent and unexpected requests
Variable work schedule
High noise levels

Information gathering

Before starting the job evaluation process, it is important to gather enough information to understand the types of work done in different job classes. This information should be current, accurate and collected in a consistent manner. It must capture the skill, effort and responsibility normally required in the work, and the conditions under which it is performed. The information must relate to the position itself, not the performance or experience of the person holding it.

Types of information collected could include:

  • job postings;
  • job descriptions; and,
  • information about current organizational structures.

In some cases, the employer or pay equity committee may find the necessary information from existing materials. In other cases, they may want to source additional information to better understand the work, using, for example:

  • questionnaires;
  • desk audits;
  • employee interviews; and,
  • validation exercises.

Determining the value of work

Using the chosen job evaluation method, the employer or pay equity committee assigns a value to each predominantly female and predominantly male job class based on the four factors (skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions). It then looks at the values of job classes relative to one another.

The point-factor method is the most common method used for valuing work for pay equity purposes. It involves assigning points to factors and sub-factors, and adding them up to provide a “score” for the job class.

Using existing values of work

An employer or pay equity committee can use predetermined values of work in its pay equity plan if those values are current and have been determined using a single method that does not discriminate on the basis of gender and reflects the skill, effort, responsibility and working conditions. It is important to think about whether any biases may have been present when the values were determined and if so, to question them.

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