The Application of an Inexact Science

Job Evaluation in the 21st Century

Suff P, Reilly P | HR Network Paper MP58 | Institute for Employment Studies | Jan 2006

Since it was first introduced in the 1920s, the popularity of job evaluation (JE) to determine the relative worth of jobs in a workplace has gone in waves, rising and falling depending on trends in reward management.

After declining in popularity in the 1980s and early 1990s as market rates became the dominant method of determining pay levels and flatter and more flexible structures the norm in pay architecture, the proportion of organisations using JE has risen again, stabilising at a bit less than half of organisations in the UK.

This paper discusses uses of JE and the different types that exist, and advises on how to select a JE scheme. It looks at JE in today's workplace, and shifting expectations. Pay flexibility and equal pay protection are also discussed.