Category Archives: job evaluation

Gender Pay Gap – The Tender Trap

With the recent high profile resignation of female BBC reporter Carrie Gracie the introduction of gender pay gap reporting highlights the tender trap that many organisations can find themselves in.  The Equalities Commission is now going to look into Ms Gracie’s claims that two international reporters doing the same job as her were paid more than 50% than her.

Gender pay gap reporting introduced by the government in  April 2017 requires that organisations who employ more than 250 staff are required to publish the pay gaps between men and women by April 2018 on an ongoing basis.  The BBC have argued that they undertook an audit and considered there wasn’t a problem.  However at least 150 women employed by the BBC don’t agree and are silently backing Miss Gracie’s very public outcry.  She is so incensed that she has resigned.  An inability of an organisation to produce the figures will have the public speculating as to the reasons why.  Those who do publish damning figures may face damage to reputation and an inability to recruit.  Pay is such an emotive issue and everyone wants to know that they receive a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.  If women do the same job as men or the job is of equal value they should be paid the same.  A job evaluation process could highlight the gaps which will then need plugging.

Despite almost fifty years of sex discrimination legislation in the UK the gap between men and women’s pay still exists.  Men are paid on average 10% more than women, women are employed in the lowest earning sectors in the UK and are given bonus’s at least 5% less than men.  See more about this on the ACAS website  It appears to still be a man’s world as they say.



What Is Job Evaluation?

Job evaluation is the systematic evaluation of the size of a job in relation to other jobs in an organisation and is used to help determine pay and establish a rational pay structure placing jobs into a hierarchy.  Basically it is job analysis that that is then linked to pay.  External data can be collected to determine the going rate for a job which is called market pricing.  It allows organisations to remain competitive with their pay and benefits.  It is therefore important to obtain up to date data through paid for published surveys, which can be expensive or job clubs where organisations share data amongst themselves.  Market pricing also allows for job pricing of a role that may be difficult to recruit to therefore possibly applying a more attractive salary.

The starting point for job evaluation is to break down the parts of a role eg duties, skills and experience needed so that these can be analysed.

There are various types of job evaluation – non-analytical or analytical.

Non-analytical job evaluation is a simpler and cheaper process compared to analytical job evaluation and there are various schemes, however, they are highly subjective. This means that personal opinion can creep in and distort the final decision.  It must always be remembered that it is the job that is being evaluated and not the person.  Job titles too can over-inflate the picture.

Non-analytical methods include job ranking, paired comparisons and job classification.

Job ranking

This is the simplest form of job evaluation. It is undertaken by putting the jobs in an organisation in order of their importance, or the level of difficulty involved in performing them or their value to the organisation.

Paired comparisons

A technique used to compare each job in turn with another in an organisation, the use of paired comparisons takes longer than job ranking as each job is considered separately.

Job classification

This method is also known as job grading. Before classification, an agreed number of grades are determined, usually between four and eight, based on tasks performed, skills, competencies, experience, initiative and responsibility. Clear distinctions are made between grades. The jobs in the organisation are then allocated to the determined grades.

There are several types of analytical job evaluation schemes:

Points Rating

Each element of the job is broken down into factors which are assessed separately and points allocated according to the level.  The more demanding the job the higher the score.  This type of scheme is highly objective with little room for personal opinion and discrimination.  Therefore, t is highly effective as a defence for an equal value claim.   However it is time consuming, can be complex and costly to introduce.  In house staff will need to be trained on operating the system or external consultants brought in.

However, it is time consuming to introduce and can be complex and costly to undertake. In addition it can be seen to be an inflexible form of job evaluation in times of rapid change and can imply an arithmetical precision which is not justified.

Schemes include NJC, GLPC and Hay.

Factor Comparison

A points rating job evaluation scheme is based on an assessment of factors, though no points are allocated.





Why Bother About Equal Pay?

The recent high profile case where 170 women have been given the right to take an equal pay case against Birmingham City Council brings equal pay firmly in the spotlight.  The workers, mainly women who worked in traditionally-female roles, such as cooks, cleaners and care staff won the right to seek compensation in the civil courts for missed  bonuses.  The women were among workers who had been denied bonuses which had been given to staff in traditionally male-dominated jobs such as refuse collectors, street cleaners, road workers and grave diggers. For example, the annual salary of a female manual grade 2 worker was £11,127, while the equivalent male salary was £30,599. The men received a bonus of up to £15,000 per year. 

Usually such claims have to be made within six months leaving a job in an employment tribunal, but the Supreme court has over ruled that principle in this case.  These employees now have six years to raise a claim with the potential for a £2 million payout. They are likely to win and cost Birmingham City Council many millions of pounds.  This “landmark” judgement could have huge implications for potentially thousands of other workers including in the private sector.

This case is remarkable given the existence of over 40 years of equal pay legislation.  In 1970 the Equal Pay Act was brought in following a fight by women sewing machinists employed by Ford to stitch the car seating who were paid much less than their male equivalents who assembled the cars.  Whilst the men and women did different jobs, the value of their jobs was deemed to have the same demands in terms of effort, skill and decision-making ie work of equal value.  This and equal work underpins equal pay legislation.  Equal work can be the same or broadly similar (known as like work) or different but equivalent (known as work rated as equivalent).  However men on average are paid more than 10% more than women. 

Organisations that want to pre-empt claims being laid at their door need to start thinking how to head off such claims.  One way would be to undertake an equal pay audit.  The EHRC provides a toolkit which is a guide for employers carrying out an equal pay audit.  It is designed for businesses with over 50 employees. It helps carry out an equal pay audit related to gender, race, disability or working patterns.  Equal pay audits are recommended in the Code of Practice on Equal Pay.

Another alternative would be to undertake a job evaluation process across an organisation to identify areas of weakness to review and correct.  Job evaluation is the systematic evaluation of the worth of jobs in relation to other jobs in an organisation.  An analytical job evaluation scheme provides a good defence in an equal pay claim whereas a non-analytical scheme such as job ranking or job comparison would not provide the same defence as it is based on subjective opinion.  Therefore a factor comparison scheme such as NJC job evaluation or Hay would provide robust defence.