To ascertain the relevance of the Paterson system of Job Evaluation, it is useful to note the origins of the system.

The Paterson Job Evaluation plan was developed by Dr. T. T. Paterson when he was Professor at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland. The system was developed over a period of 15 years, during which he examined the characteristics of WORK and PAY. The primary purpose of the system is to relate these two aspects of productivity in a way which both management and workers find reasonable, equitable and fair.

Subsequent research, development and application of the system has taken place in Southern Africa, Europe and Northern America where it is becoming more and more widely used. In recent years, and within the Southern African market, Paterson has become the most widely used system of Job Evaluation. Paterson has been implemented in a number of organisations, spanning every sector of the working world.


The Paterson grading system is based on a single common factor, which occurs in jobs at all levels in organisations. This common factor is the level of decision-making, and influences the banding questions within the system.

The use of a single common factor means that all jobs within any organisation can be graded using the same methodology, with a reference to a common standard. Thus the job of a manager is graded in the same way as the job of the artisan or of the labourer, i.e. in terms of the highest level of decision-making or skill found in the tasks which make up these jobs.

There are six possible levels of decision making in any organisation, ie six bands into which any specific role may be evaluated. Following on from this, the evaluation can then be taken further to inform sub-banding, and subsequently sub-grading.




Some of the main advantages and benefits of Job Evaluation are:

  • Principles are not complex and are usually easily understood
  • All roles within a business are evaluated using the same methodology
  • It evaluates specialist roles as effectively as non-specialist roles
  • It is flexible, without sacrificing the basic principles on which the system is based
  • It is internationally recognised, and can be effectively used across multiple territories
  • The Job Evaluation results are not necessarily decided by one person, but could be based on the findings of a Job Evaluation committee
  • It assists in illustrating the fairness or otherwise of the current distribution of salaries
  • It assists in illustrating the competitiveness of organisational pay scales against market rates
  • The role and not the person is evaluated (mitigates subjectivity)