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.
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.