System for the Classification of Posts
Classification Forms Organizational chart Some tips for writing a good job description
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What is job classification?

Job classification is a method of organizing jobs and levels of responsibility in a particular order, grouping together similar or comparable jobs according to the functions to be performed and related skills, knowledge or experience required to discharge these functions. It thus creates a hierarchy based on the level of responsibility and tasks assigned and ensures consistency between the actual duties and responsibilities of a post and the grade allocated. There are two different approaches to the establishment of a salary hierarchy in an organization.

  • Rank-in-job approach: It is tied to the principles of equal pay for work of equal value, relative worth, significant differences and evaluation of the work performed, not the competence or contributions of the individual.

  • Rank-in-person approach: It is based on personal qualifications, such as academic credentials or seniority.

Organizations of the United Nations common system opted for the "rank-in-job" approach mainly because it is less open to subjectivity and discrimination and better able to adjust to changing organizational demands.

The principal objectives of job classification

  • To provide for the fair and equitable remuneration of staff by applying standards reflecting the internal values of the organizations, uniformly and consistently over time; and

  • To provide for the establishment of links between the objectives of the organization and the work performed to reach those objectives - in other words, the relationship between salaries paid and services rendered.

Job evaluation methods

The evaluation methods presented below are based on the "rank-in-job" approach.

  • Ranking: This is the simplest method of classification, in which jobs are described and ranked in order of difficulty, following which grades and levels can be assigned to jobs. It is a non-quantitative method of listing jobs according to the demands they are considered to make on those who perform them.

  • Grade description: Through this method. jobs are classified by comparing them with a predetermined standard and are assigned levels which best correspond, as a whole, to their duties and responsibilities. This predetermined standard is basically a set of benchmarks against which whole jobs are matched to arrive at a grade. It is also a non-quantitative method of sorting posts of a single type into classes and grades which have been determined and described.

  • Point factor rating: A point rating plan is developed by selecting and defining factors, by defining a number of degrees for each factor and by assigning point values to each degree. Jobs are analysed in terms of the factors in the classification plan and assigned a point value by reference to the factor and degree definitions. The total number of points determines the relative value of the job. This method is used for the evaluation of work in the Professional and higher categories because of its capacity to evaluate consistently and accurately, the heterogeneous jobs found in the United Nations common system organizations. While it is more costly to develop and operate than other systems, it is more difficult to manipulate and biases become more readily apparent, thus, it is ultimately more cost effective.


2006 United Nations Office of Human Resources Management - All rights reserved.