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Job analysis

Job analysis involves a systematic investigation of jobs using a variety of methods, to determine essential duties, tasks and responsibilities.

Job analysis is crucial to the identification of relevant skills and competencies. It involves obtaining objective and verifiable information about the actual requirements of a job, and the skills and competencies required to meet the local area and University’s needs.

Job analysis facilitates accurate recruitment and selection practices, sets standards for performance appraisals and allows appropriate classification/reclassification of positions.

Comparing the skills possessed by employees with the results of job analysis can greatly assist in workforce planning strategies and restructuring or redesigning jobs to reflect the requirements of the local area and/or University-wide changes.

Key Factors in Job Analysis

Task identity:

Employees receive more satisfaction from doing a ‘whole’ piece of work. This is likely to happen when the job has a distinct beginning and end which is clearly visible to the employee and others. It is important that employees see the end results of the work they have produced either on their own or as a part of a team.

Variety:

Employees, who perform repetitive tasks which offer no challenge, may lose interest and become bored and dissatisfied. Greater variety can improve interest, challenge and commitment to the task.

Variety means more than simply adding an extra but similar task. For example, processing different forms would not make the work more meaningful as there would be no extra challenge.

Too much variety can also be frustrating and a source of conflict and dissatisfaction. The optimum amount of variety will differ from person to person and could depend on the level of the position.

Responsibility:

Employees need to feel responsible for a significant part of the work they perform, either individually or as part of a team. Work should be clearly identified enabling employees to see that they are personally responsible for the successes and failures that occur as a result of their own actions. The employee should understand the significance of the work and where it fits into the purpose of the local area and within the University.

Autonomy:

This goes hand in hand with responsibility. Employees should have some areas of decision making within the framework of their job. Autonomy means giving more scope to employees to regulate and control their own work.

Working environment:

A job should provide a safe and healthy working environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. It is also important to consider the types of work aids and equipment required to perform the role.

Employees need to understand their reporting relationships. For example, who does the position report to, does the role have any direct reports, the location of the position and what hours are required.

It is important to identify who and the level of interaction that is required with key internal and external customers.

Recognition and support:

Employees need jobs that contribute to self-respect, particularly through acceptance and recognition by fellow workers and supervisors. Jobs should permit relationships between individuals and encourage team work; otherwise the employee can feel isolated which may result in negative feelings about their work and their work environment.

Outcomes & performance measures:

Employees need to know what their particular targets are and how they relate to the overall operation of the local area, the wider Division/Portfolio/Unit/ Research Institute and the University. This will involve identifying the outcomes required of the position.

The standard of performance also needs to be identified along with performance measures. This feedback will provide employees with an equitable capacity for ongoing learning and advancement.

Elements of Job Analysis Process (word 34kb)

Job Analysis / Design Process

Information can be sought from a number of sources and the process that is undertaken can vary depending on the complexity of the role. A new position in a structure will require a more detailed analysis whereas an established position may only need a review of the duties and activities.

Jobs should not be designed in isolation from other jobs within the work area. The local area, structure and objective of the work area should be taken into account.

Sources of Data

Information associated with a job analysis can be gained from the following sources:

Data Gathering

In this stage the following questions should be asked:

This information is often known but can also be obtained through research such as observation, interviews, questionnaires, group discussion and client feedback.

Most employees want to take part in decision making about matters that affect their work. They also have valuable information to contribute. Employees are also far more likely to act on decisions that they have had a part in making. An interchange of ideas will allow for effective involvement and motivation.

Data Analysis

During the analysis phase the following should be included:

Now that there is a description of what the job is required to do, consideration should also be given to the key factors described earlier under Job Analysis.

Formally Document and Adjust

The job is now ready to be formally documented.

As all new processes require fine-tuning and adjustment, it will be necessary to review the job, discuss the progress and address any problematic areas that have occurred. This might best be done by staff in regular meetings, where additional training requirements can be identified and suggestions for improved information flows can be made.

Job Documentation

The documentation of a job is called the position description. The production of a position description should be the culmination of the job analysis process.

The position description should provide applicants with a clear indication of the duties, accountabilities and outcomes expected of the position. The position description is the base document used in the management of the employee’s performance as outlined in the University’s performance management scheme.

A position description provides information relating to a role at a given point of time; however few positions remain the same over a long period of time.

UniSA has a standard format for position descriptions.  Guidelines for creating a position description can be found here.

Job Title

The selection of a job title is important, as it provides an indication of the duties of the job, it indicates the relative level of the job within the local area hierarchy and provides status for the employee.

Job titles should be simple and free of technical jargon. The title should be descriptive to enable the position to be quickly identified, for example, use Administrative Officer (Post Graduate) rather than just Administrative Officer.

Generic job titles should only be used for generic positions (Executive Officer, Head of School).

In accordance with EEO legislation, it is necessary to avoid sexist or discriminatory expressions in position titles. Therefore, titles containing man or woman cannot be used.

Guidelines for the use of position titles are being developed.

Bibliography

"What makes jobs meaningful and satisfying?: Guide for managers and supervisors.", issued by Productivity Promotion Council of Australia. (RMIT web site)

"Job Redesign, A Guide for Managers", Department of Employment, Education and Training, The Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1988. (RMIT web site)

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