Paterson Job Grading

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Paterson Job Grading Overview

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Paterson Job Grading Overview
A first principle in any job grading is that individuals engaged in the process should know as little as possible of the existing pay differentials between the jobs being graded. These are the words of Thomas Paterson, the creator of the Paterson Job Grading Method. Probably one of the biggest fears of job grading is that salaries might be reduced based on the outcome of job grading. Tremendis Learning uses a fair and legal Paterson Job Grading method to successfully identify and grade each job. This page is a brief overview of the Paterson Grading System. Tremendis have been involved in many job grading committees and panels to ensure that this system is implemented fairly. We do recommend the use of an external party to fairly grade jobs. Feel free to speak to one of our consultants for more assistance. 

Paterson Overview:
The Paterson Job Grading system has been around since the late 60's and is widely used in the United Kingdom, South Africa and some other countries. The grading system in essence grades a job based on Decision Making or Freedom to Act in the specific role. Many HR specialists and critics claimed that grading a job based on one factor does not suffice and in later years more comprehensive aid to the Paterson Grading was added. Paterson originally stated that there were 6 Bands in which jobs are graded into. See below:

 
Band Kind Title Grade Kind Title
E Policy-Making Top Management 10
9
Coordinating
Policy
President (MD)
Vice-President (Ex Dir)
D Programming Senior Management 8
7
Coordinating
Programming
General Manager
Admin Manager
C Interpretive Middle Management 6
5
Coordinating
Interpretive
Department Manager
Superintendent
B Routine Skilled 4
3
Coordinating
Routine
Supervisor
Technician
A Automatic Semi-Skilled 2
1
Coordinating
Automatic
Chargehand
Machinist
O Defined Unskilled 0 Defined Labourer

Each person's job belongs in one of these bands because of the decisions to be made. The worker may also make decisions of a band earlier in the alphabetical order. An Admin Manager of Band D may make a decision of Band B on how he requires his filing system to be set up, but a senior clerk (Band B) does not make decisions of Bands C, D or E.

Paterson recognises these decision-making differences in the titles commonly used in industries. And persons making decisions of one Band may, if there are enough of them, be coordinated by another person in that Band. So we can have two Grades in each Band except in Band O (Later called Band A), these Grades also being recognised by titles in common use (table above). Grades are given in numbers 1-10, but they may be sub graded on the basis of frequency of decision-making.

A decision of one grade is coordinated with others of a related nature by the decision of a Grade of a higher number. According to Paterson decision are progressively more difficult to make from Grade 0 to Grade 10, and they are progressively more important for the firm's survival and growth. They are rewarded accordingly, the basic pay for one Grade being more than that of the Grade of the next lower number by a factor which is the same from Grades 0 to 10. This factor depends on the size of the total payroll, the kind of firm and the region where it is sited. 

In later years the bands were restructured from A to F but the definition of 6 total bands maintained. See below:


Band Kind Title Grade Kind Title
F Policy-Making Top Management 10
9
Coordinating
Policy
President (MD)
Vice-President (Ex Dir)
E Programming Senior Management 8
7
Coordinating
Programming
General Manager
Admin Manager
D Interpretive Middle Management 6
5
Coordinating
Interpretive
Department Manager
Superintendent
C Routine Skilled 4
3
Coordinating
Routine
Supervisor
Technician
B Automatic Semi-Skilled 2
1
Coordinating
Automatic
Chargehand
Machinist
A Defined Unskilled 0 Defined Labourer

An addition that was added to the Paterson Grading was Sub-Grading. Actually, Paterson already had that in his 1972 book, yet due to complexity I guess it was not well understood. The concept of sub-grading basically involves other factors other than pure decision making to grade a job. These factors are experience required, prior knowledge or qualifications, work stress, consequence of judgement, external influences etc. 

Each band, except Band A have thus 3 subgrades as well over and above the 10 grades mentioned. It seems that the modern way of using Paterson excludes the Grades 0 - 10 and mainly focuses on firstly the Band, secondly the Sub-grade and lastly whether the position holds coordination or not.

The Paterson grading system is relatively simple but could easily become confusing. Fairness, as with any grading system, is key. Grading always happen in the form of a committee which comprises of a Human Resources Representative, the Departmental Manager, at least two other high level individuals (CEO, COO etc) and an outside consultant (Tremendis Learning).

It is crucial to note that the person whose job is being graded are not present in these committees. One cannot grade his own job as it opens up unnecessary debate or feelings of unfairness and frustration. 

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