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Fairness in Pay Part 1 - Job Evaluation: Every little helps

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Posted by Sarah Lardner on 13 February 2018

Fairness in Pay Part 1 - Job Evaluation: Every little helps

HR Reward | Reward Consultancy | Pay Fairness | Equal Pay | Equal Pay Audits | Job Evaluation |

We all know how valuable job evaluation is: it provides a consistent methodology of assessing and valuing roles, identifying where they sit within the organisational hierarchy, and it’s also useful for creating grading and to overlay pay. As such, job evaluation is one of the most important tool in the HR arsenal.

However, all too often job evaluation is just used as a onetime tool to aid the creation of reward programmes, and then left to wither away in a file somewhere – and in my view this is a mistake. Once HR teams have made the effort to create this invaluable source of insight into their job DNA, they should put it to work every day.

Not taking job evaluation seriously can have unfortunate consequences. A prime example is the Tesco equal pay group claim, which I discussed on BBC radio last week. It has come as a shock to Tesco that thousands of female employees are presenting a group equal pay claim, based on the view that as female shop floor staff, they are paid less than male warehouse staff despite performing work of equal value. Employees at Sainsbury’s and Asda are bringing similar group claims, with a huge potential cost to their employers in backpay and negative publicity.

It's possible that Tesco, Sainsbury's and Asda could have saved themselves a lot of pain by using a more robust job evaluation system which identifies work of equal value. This is where the work is similar, and roles are equal in terms of demands, effort, skills and decision making. A good job evaluation framework avoids bias due to historical division of labour based on gender roles, since it will assess roles in a fair and consistent manner, and judge each role using the same gender-neutral criteria.

It’s important to check that your job evaluation system is up to the job. In the past, I’ve seen systems which assess roles based on loaded terminology such as ‘physical’, ‘emotional’, ‘caring’, or ‘strong’. A decent system will enable you to create a fair, transparent structure for your organisation. It shows true commitment to employees that you are serious about paying fairly, providing consistency and being transparent around reward.

The issue of equal pay for equal work is not going away any time soon and employers need to build their credibility around gender equality; especially given the related requirements over gender pay. Don’t get caught out by neglecting your job evaluation and risk facing equal pay claims as a result. Of course, it would be naive to suggest that job evaluation is the only aspect that will need to be addressed internally, as often policies and practices also have inherent bias. This is why Innecto prefers to support clients with a ‘deep dive’ equal pay audit and review to identify any weak elements.

If you’re interested in job evaluation we can help in two ways. First, our off the shelf cloud-based solution Evaluate™ works with organisations of all sizes and we’ve used it successfully across most sectors. Alternatively, you might need a bespoke solution. If you're interested in finding out more about how we can help please get in touch: 020 3457 0894.

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