Job Evaluation Plan

The University of Guelph uses a modified Aiken Plan.  It is known as a universal plan which means that it can evaluate all positions in an organization. Positions are evaluated using nine predetermined factors.

Please visit Job Evaluation Forms to view all the various forms.

Job Evaluation Factors

There are four basic identifiable factors in all jobs that job evaluation systems must be capable of measuring in order to maintain pay equity. These are:

  • Skill
  • Effort
  • Responsibility
  • Working Conditions

The job evaluation system described below, (modified Aiken) uses nine factors.

Point-Factor Evaluation Method

Job evaluation methods vary. The modified Aiken plan described here is a factor comparison plus factor analysis plus point evaluation. It is known as a Point-Factor plan. Point-Factor plans are considered to be particularly suitable for purposes of pay equity compliance.

Description of the Job Evaluation Factors


This factor deals with the decision-making aspects of the position. Complexity refers to the variety and relative difficulty of the material or information upon which decisions are based. Judgment refers to the use of knowledge and experience in making the decisions. Grade levels increase in relation to the variety of issues and activities, and to the difficulty of the problems and decisions dealt with.


Education refers to the training necessary to prepare an individual to satisfactorily fill a position. It reflects the level of formalized knowledge necessary to fulfil the requirements of the position. It does not mean that a designated amount of formal education is an absolute necessity. Such knowledge is most commonly acquired as a result of time spent in schools, colleges, universities or other formal instruction programmes. Application of this factor should not be confused with either the basic education of a particular incumbent or with employment standards established to ensure adequate background for advancement within the organization. Today’s educational levels and standards should be used. This factor is closely associated with the following one for Experience.  Rating under the Experience factor should reflect the educational level assigned in this factor.


Work experience measures the length of time, (in months or years), required to learn, under instruction or guidance, the essential techniques and skills called for by the job. The experience will be gained on the job under consideration, as well as on prior jobs where the same or more elementary principles and techniques are used, and also on related jobs where one can build up a body of knowledge essential to the proper performance of the job. The amount of work experience is the sum total of all experiences, (prior and on the present job) that must be acquired in order to perform the work. Assume that the incumbent starts with the educational level specified in the Education factor.


Initiative refers to the degree of independent action required. It also considers ingenuity, creative imagination, and original thought which may be needed on the job. It is limited by the amount of direction and control received from either personal supervision or standard practices and precedents – rules, policies, codes, regulations, and procedures. This factor is closely related to the complexity of the job and the judgement exercised. The initiative factor increases as the complexity of the job and the judgement exercised on the job rises.

Result of Errors

This factor appraises the likelihood and the probable effect of errors on the job. Consider the extent of losses to the organization which may result from mistakes occasioned by insufficiently considered decisions or judgments. Consider a typical instance, not a rare or extreme one. (Result of Errors is also used to evaluate responsibility for the safety of others.)


This factor considers the need for applying different levels of interpersonal and communication skills. Contacts refer to the relative importance to the University of the necessary working relationships of the position holder with other people. The contacts can be internal or external to the organization. Contacts are of a personal nature: talking face-to-face, on the telephone, making presentations, written communication, providing instructions, counselling or public appearances.

Character of Supervision (a)

Character of Supervision considers the degree, kind and intricacies of line supervisory responsibility, OR; the nature of functional supervision, technical direction or advice involved in staff relationships. Consider the extent to which responsibility for results goes with the position - in terms of operations, policy, personnel and finances.

Scope of Supervision (b)

Scope of Supervision appraises the size of the direct-line responsibilities measured in total number of people within the organizational unit supervised.

Physical Demands

Physical Demands considers the degree and severity of exertion associated with the position. The intensity and severity of the physical effort, mental or visual attention required by the job is considered as well as the continuity and frequency of that effort. This factor also considers the choice of action available to seek relief or perform less demanding tasks. Demands typically occur simultaneously, however severity varies.  The factor considers demands in combination, albeit that often there is a predominant demand, e.g. mental attention.

Working Conditions

This factor considers the frequency of exposure to disagreeable environmental conditions, or hazards, i.e. dirt, temperature extremes, chemicals, under which the work is performed. It also includes the degree of health hazard and any aspects of necessary travel. Only the conditions or hazards inherent in the nature of the work are considered.

Weighting of Factors

The factors used by the job evaluation plan are unbiased and therefore are factors that can be applied equally to men and women. For example, working with people, (a feature common to the female job classes), and working with equipment, (a feature common to male job classes), are each given consideration in the evaluation process.

Skill (56% of final grade)

Complexity - Judgment
Measure of variety, difficulty and decision-making aspects. For example, is the work routine, repetitive, diversified, or complex?  Does the work involve analysis, or planning?  Decision making, or policy information?

Formal knowledge required for work. For example, does the job require elementary school, secondary school?  College or a university degree?

Time to acquire job skills/competence. How much on the job training is required to perform the work: 1 month, or 6 months, or 3 years or 5 years, etc.?

Measure of direction received and level of job control required; refers to the degree of independent action required. For example, do you work under close supervision or frequent supervision?  Do you work with just general direction and guidance, or do you work independently on policy making activities?

Effort (3.4% of final grade)

Physical/Mental Demands
Physical and mental exertion such as lifting, manual dexterity, visual concentration, mental concentration, fine motor skills. For example, does the work cause undue fatigue, considerable standing, little physical effort or continuous heavy effort?

Responsibility (36.2% of final grade)

Responsibility for Errors
Measure of seriousness of potential errors in judgement or action; considers a typical instance, not a rare or extreme one. For example, are errors readily detected? Do errors have limited or considerable impact on the work of others or do they cause a serious breakdown in the operation of the university?

Type and importance of work relationships. For example, does the work require contact with immediate associates, important contacts in which recommendations are presented, or contacts beyond the university which are vital to its operation?


  • Nature of supervisory responsibilities. For example, does the work require contact with immediate associates, important contacts in which recommendations are presented, or contacts beyond the university which are vital to its operation?
  • Number of staff supervised. For example, do you give little supervision, limited supervision, general supervision or do you give policy direction?

Working Conditions (4.4% of final grade)

Working Conditions
Work environment and job requirements. Unpleasant conditions which are inherent in the job and which will not change even if job location changes. For example, in the workplace are there minimum disadvantages or disagreeable conditions? Is there continuous exposure to severe factors?