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What Is the Paterson Job Grading System?

The Paterson grading system is an analytical method of job evaluation, used predominantly in South Africa.

It analyses decision-making in job task performance or job descriptions, and sorts jobs into six groups that are graded and grouped into two to three sub-grades--such as stress factors, individual tolerance, length of job and number of job responsibilities--that correspond to organizational levels. The six grades, also called bands, define pay scales.


According to "Classification of Jobs into Levels of Work: Four Reliability Studies," at the University of Zimbabwe, the Paterson system places job decision-making into six groups or bands--policy making, programming, interpretive, routine, automatic and defined. These groups correspond to the following organizational levels--top management, senior management, middle management, junior management and skilled positions, semi-skilled positions and unskilled positions.


Comprised of grades A through F, Paterson's grading system is listed below with an explanation of the corresponding graded decision making. An upper grade reflects a job requiring coordination or supervision, and a lower grade reflects non-coordinating jobs.

A- Prescribed or defined decisions.

Jobs are performed with limited training for grade A, and employees, such as unskilled workers, decide when and how fast to execute tasks.

B, lower- Automatic or operative decisions

B, upper- Coordinating, automatic decisions.

Theory or systems knowledge for grade B is not required, though employees, such as semi-skilled workers, can decide where and when to perform operations.

C, lower- Routine decisions

C, upper- Coordinating, routine decisions

Theory and/or systems knowledge for grade C is required, and employees, such as skilled workers or supervisory personnel, decide what has to be done--through knowledge and experience--for deterministic outcomes .

D, lower- Interpretive decisions

D, upper- Coordinating, interpretive decisions

Grade D involves middle management's ability to optimise resources through decision-making about processes and procedures with planning programs or budgets one year ahead.

E, lower- Programming decisions

E, upper- Coordinating, programming decisions

Grade E consists of senior management's cross-functional coordination--coordinating many departments--and strategic policy decisions made by top management, with plans made five years in advance.

F, lower- Policy decisions

F, upper- Coordinating, policy decisions

Grade F consists of top management, such as a board or CEO who manages organizational scope and goals.

Comparison to Castellion's Grading System

Paterson's grading system is more reliable than Castellion's grading system, based on a reliability study at the University of Zimbabwe. More students made errors in re-grading 18 jobs within the Castellion grading system, which is comprised of 16 grades.