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What is job architecture and why is it important?

The practice of managing job data has, until recently, taken a bit of a back seat in many organisations, acting primarily as a tool for compensation teams to manage and govern pay and grading.  

However, a combination of significant shifts towards skills-based organisations, the move towards employee-centric self-serve models, the digitisation of HR, and increased pay equality legislation, has catapulted the need for a job architecture – within which job data is organised and managed - into the epicentre of workforce management. 

Creating and maintaining a dynamic, future-proofed job architecture should now be a strategic imperative for all organisations.

What is a job architecture?

A job architecture forms the building blocks of an organisation. It provides a framework for defining and aligning jobs based on the type of work performed. In its simplest form, a job architecture provides you with a mechanism to consolidate all your job titles into a consistent format that provides clarity and transparency on career levels and pay.

Components of job architecture

There are several components that make up a job architecture such as:

  • Job Functions – the highest level of job roles in a job architecture (for example, “Operations”)
  • Job Families – lower-level groupings of jobs that have common features (for example, “Project Management”)
  • Job Grades – Salary ranges or steps in salary that help to categorise and equalise pay across similar positions

Our Guide to Job Architecture provides full definitions for each component and shows how these link together.

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The challenge with current job structures
In many organisations, the job data is in a chaotic state – often due to rapid growth and/or a lack of governance. The result is a proliferation of job titles, many slight variations of one another, alongside inconsistent job levels and salary ranges. This shaky foundation can leave organisations open to pay equity claims and can also mean that they are missing out on the benefits that a solid, dynamic, future-proofed job architecture can bring.

Benefits of a job architecture 

Working with a large number of clients to help them create their job architectures, we have seen first-hand the many benefits that it can bring.

Providing the foundation for pay and reward, enabling external benchmarking

One of the main uses of a job architecture is for providing a framework for pay and reward. Once job functions and job families have been organised into a structure, a job levelling process can be used to assess the value of jobs in the organisation. A job architecture also helps with external salary benchmarking to make sure that salaries are competitive against the external market.

Enabling and managing pay equity

As organisations start to focus on pay equity, they are looking at their job architecture to support this. A job architecture helps organisations consider and justify the relative importance and impact of job roles on the organisation. With a job structure in place, pay equity analysis is made significantly easier - it is easier to look across the organisation and compare different roles to each other to see if there are any pay disparities. These can then be examined further, and actions taken to address any areas of concern.

Managing compliance reporting

In additional to pay equity legislation, there is a multitude of other compliance legislation being implemented globally that require an organisation to report on data by job title. Having a job architecture in place makes this kind of compliance reporting more straightforward, less error-prone and easier for organisations to respond to when each new piece of legislation in brought in.

Maximising HR technology investment and optimising processes

A fundamental component for an effective HR technology stack is having a well-designed, simple yet comprehensive, job architecture framework in place.  If this isn't addressed first, organisations can spend millions on integration, only to find their job architecture doesn't align with new processes and automations.

Creating alignment following mergers and acquisitions

Following a merger or acquisition, it is not uncommon for companies to just retain the job titles and job descriptions from the two organisations creating inconsistency and misalignment. A job architecture provides a framework for alignment and a common language across the combined organisation.

Learning, career paths and succession planning

Often there are great opportunities for people to move from one function to another in an organisation using their transferable skills but there is not enough transparency about these opportunities because of a confused and inconsistent job architecture. Many organisations are using a job architecture framework to identify career pathways and communicate these to employees.  LinkedIn’s 2020 Global Talent Trends study found that companies with active internal career management programs have 41% higher retention rates. 

Surfacing your skills – shifting to a skills-based organisation

What skills are most needed in your organisation? How is this picture changing over time? Where are your skills shortages compared to your competitors? What skills are transferable from one function to another? All of the answers to these questions are more easily answered with a comprehensive job architecture framework in place, with every job linked to a skills library.

Workforce planning and analytics

By using a job architecture to standardise job titles, organisations can ensure that their workforce data is consistent and comparable across different departments and functions. This makes it easier to analyse workforce data, such as headcount, turnover and diversity metrics, and identify trends and patterns in the data, such as turnover rates, retention rates and employee engagement levels.

Reviewing your organisation's job architecture framework can feel like a daunting prospect.  Some of our clients have spent more than 18 months carrying out this task manually.  If it takes this long, then by the time you've completed it, it's likely out-of-date. Maintenance and governance of a manual process creates additional challenges.  
RoleMapper provides you with the tools to manage the complexity of cleansing, transforming and governing your jobs and job architecture. Powered by the most recent advances in AI and language technology, it gives you the agility to Create a structured, up-to-date catalogue of all the roles in your organisation.

The first step to gaining control of your jobs is ‘getting your house in order’

RoleMapper's AI-driven, modular solution will ease the pain of creating, managing and updating your job architecture and job catalogue.

Access to millions of jobs and skills across multiple industries
Automate the end-to-end creation and management of your jobs and job architecture as your organisation evolves
Intelligent job content creation powered by proprietary Machine Learning
Real-time job intelligence to power compliant workforce planning

Join our live product demo to learn more about how RoleMapper can help clean up & harmonise your job architecture & job descriptions.

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