Clarification of Job Evaluation

Job Evaluation is a method of assessing the "work value" of positions.  A position is measured in terms of the actual requirements of the position, rather than the experience or skills possessed by the particular person in the job.   Job evaluation is not to be confused with the processes which accompany performance management where the primary concern is with how well a job is, or is not, performed, ie it does not measure or reward "performance".

USQ has two processes that form part of job evaluation - classification and reclassification.  'Classification' determines the classification level of newly created positions prior to advertising/appointment.  'Reclassification' reviews the classification level of existing occupied positions following changes to that position.

The Mercer Cullen Egan Dell (CED) Methodology

The Mercer CED methodology expresses the worth of a position in "work value points".  These points are determined by assessing three primary factors - Expertise, Judgement and Accountability - which are considered to be common to all positions.  These three primary factors are then broken down further into eight subfactors.  Position requirements are compared with detailed standard definitions (found in the USQ Job Evaluation Manual) to find the level of each subfactor which most accurately describes the characteristics of the position.  Each subfactor typically has from three to seven rating levels.

The outcome of the CED Job Evaluation system is a "profile" of alphanumeric characters which equates to a points total, which in turn is related to a classification level.  Each classification level has a points range allocated to it. Because of broadbanding quite a few points make up each level and different profiles will fall within the same range and hence achieve the same level.  For example, USQ Level 3 may have a points range of 100 to 150 allocated to it.  A position whose total points fall anywhere between than range (inclusive) would then be classified at USQ Level 3.

It is important to realise that the system does not tell anyone what step they will have in a level. It is not meant to do that. All it can do is to establish a clear level. And, at the risk of being repetitious, the system will not distinguish between people on the same level doing a better job than others and rewarding them for it.

Eligibility to Apply - the 'reclassification' process

A continuing or fixed term professional employee who is appointed to a position of greater than 12 months duration may apply for a review of the classification level of their position if there have been changes to the role.  To be eligible for a review, it is expected that the employee will have occupied the position for a period of 12 months or more.

Grounds for refusal or deferral of an application may relate to operational considerations including:

  • a position will not normally be reviewed twice within a 12 month period (since either classification or reclassification);

  • the application shows that when compared with previous documentation the duties and responsibilities of the position have not changed significantly since it was last evaluated; or

  • the position is part of a proposed reorganisation or job redesign exercise to be completed within six months.

Documentation to Complete

Employees wishing to apply for reclassification must complete a Reclassification - Job Description Questionnaire

The front page of this Questionnaire contains important information and instructions for completion and should be thoroughly understood before completing the document.  Section 4 'Significant Changes' is a very important section of this questionnaire as it will be used to determine what changes to position requirements have occurred since the position was last evaluated.  It is therefore important that this section specifically details any changes to position responsibilities and duties that have taken place.  It is also important to note that the questionnaire is concerned with documenting actual duties currently performed in the position at the time of submission, no matter what changes or evolvement may be planned for the future.  It is also important to differentiate between 'increased volume of work' and 'different duties and responsibilities'.  Volume in itself is not justification for a review of the classification level of a position.

If there are a group of employees all performing identical positions, one single group application may be submitted representing all incumbents.  If a work team is considering reviewing positions within that team, it is encouraged for all employees to submit their applications at the same time to enable the same evaluators to consider all positions and their relationship to each other at the same time.

After completing the Questionnaire, it is to be forwarded to the relevant Dean, Director or Manager (ie Category 4 Delegate). The relevant Category 4 Delegate needs to consider the merits of the application and complete the appropriate section on the last page of the Questionnaire.  The Category 4 Delegate may either fully support the request for reclassification; amend the application and consequently support the request; or not support the request at that point in time.  After the appropriate section has been completed by the Category 4 Delegate, the application is then returned to the employee who needs to sign the final section of the Questionnaire to indicate that they have been advised of their delegate's level of support. 

The application is then forwarded to Human Resources.  In instances where the application is not supported by the delegate, the new/different duties and responsibilities listed in the application will be compared with previous position requirements by evaluators in Human Resources, and then forwarded to the Moderation Panel for consideration.  The Moderation Panel will consider the application and the significant changes, and may then decide that the application will proceed through the formal reclassification process without the support of the Category 4 Delegate, or alternatively may decide that the application will not proceed any further. In this latter case, the application will be retained on file in Human Resources for archival purposes only without an evaluation taking place.

The Meeting Process

After the completed Job Description Questionnaire is received in Human Resources, two trained evaluators will be nominated to meet with the incumbent and supervisor either jointly or individually.  Trained evaluators can come from any faculty / department across USQ but will not normally evaluate positions from within their own cost centre.  Wherever possible, one evaluator will be from an area of similar expertise to the incumbent, ie technical, administrative etc, however this is not an essential requirement for an evaluator to undertake a thorough evaluation of a position.

The applicant and nominated supervisor(s) MUST be available to meet with the evaluators within 30 days of the end of the quarter in which the application is lodged.  Applicants will be contacted by Human Resources to arrange a mutually convenient time for the evaluators to meet with both the incumbent and supervisor separately.  At these evaluation meetings, the evaluators will go through the Job Description Questionnaire, clarify their understanding, seek expansion on any necessary points, and request examples if necessary to support statements made in the documentation.  Joint meetings of incumbent and supervisor together are usually of approximately 1 hour in duration.

The purpose of the meeting is to enable the evaluators to extract as much information as possible about the position to assist them to make informed decisions and allocate ratings on the Expertise, Judgement and Accountability job factors. Evaluators will prepare their ratings as found in the USQ Job Evaluation Manual and will finish their profile with a points total.  Evaluators are not aware of which USQ classification level the points total equates to - this keeps the process objective and free from potential bias.

After the evaluation meetings, the evaluators will prepare their profile and submit it to Human Resources.  Human Resources will ensure that evaluations meet the requirements of the job evaluation system checks, feasibility checks and internal consistency checks.   Should the checks reveal an error or inconsistency, profiles are not amended without the involvement of the evaluators.

The Moderation Panel

The Moderation Panel meets quarterly to review outcomes of all applications evaluated in that quarter.  The Panel consists of the Executive Director, Human Resources (or Chief Operating Officer as proxy), a Dean or equivalent non-Faculty head, one on-campus representative from each of the professional staff unions and the University Classifications Officer.

The Panel can access all documentation used in the evaluation process, meet with evaluators where necessary, request that an evaluation be conducted by new evaluators, or recommend that the Vice-Chancellor approve outcomes.

Notification of Outcomes and Dates of Effect

The Moderation Panel's recommendations are forwarded to the Vice-Chancellor.  The Vice-Chancellor will consider the recommendations taking organisational and operational matters into consideration and determine appropriate action for each position.  The Executive Director, Human Resources will advise the authorising delegate and applicant of the outcome via letter.

Applications can be lodged at any time during the year, however the effective dates for successful outcomes are:


 Received  Effective From
 1 January - 31 March (1st quarter)  1 April
 1 April - 30 June (2nd quarter)  1 July
 1 July - 30 September (3rd quarter)  1 October
 1 October - 31 December (4th quarter)  1 January (following year)

Therefore, for example, an employee who applies for reclassification in the 1st quarter will have their evaluation meeting some time in April, the evaluation profile will be considered by the Moderation Panel in early May, and the applicant notified of the outcome in mid May (with an effective date of any change in level being from 1 April).

Potential Outcomes 

One potential outcome of the reclassification process is upwards movement in the profile.  This can result in a higher classification level.  A position may also remain at the same classification level as while a position may increase across a number of factors, the overall increase may not necessarily be significant enough to move the position into the next classification level.

The reclassification process may also result in downwards movement in the profile.  This may mean that a position remains at the same classification level.  It may also result in a lower classification level for the position with the salary of the incumbent maintained at their previous level.

Please note that an employee whose position has been reclassified from USQ Levels 1, 2 or 3 to USQ Level 4 or above, and who had previously opted to pay superannuation contributions to UniSuper at the half contribution rate (ie 3.5%) will now be required to contribute to UniSuper at the rate of 7% of gross salary.  An employee whose position is reclassified from USQ Level 3 to USQ Level 4, will have the reclassification take effect at Step 2 of the Level 4 classification range to compensate for the increased employee superannuation requirements.


Support services are available from Human Resources including advice and assistance with completion of the Job Description Questionnaire, explanation of job evaluation and processes, interpretation with policy and preparation for the meeting process.

Applicants and supervisors are encouraged to seek feedback on the evaluation outcome from Human Resources upon receipt of the outcome.  

Contacts and Assistance

Support services are offered to any employee or supervisor who seeks assistance from Human Resources. Please direct any queries to the HR Client Services team.

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