4 Job Analysis

Learning Objectives

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • define job analysis and describe its its relationship to the development of job descriptions and job specifications.
  • describe significance and components of job analysis.
  • discuss the methods of job analysis.


Source: “Job Analysis & Design” by NPTEL is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Human resource management aims at optimum utilization of available human potential. For this purpose, it is essential to make sure everyone understands their job and expectations from the job. This enables them to charter their behaviour appropriately.

Job analysis is a process of determining the essential characteristics that are necessary to perform the job effectively. A good job analysis conveys information to take a number of important decisions relating to human resources management. is next to job analysis. Job design involves systematic attempts to organize tasks, duties and responsibilities into a unit of work to achieve certain objectives. Job design integrates the work content and qualifications required for each job that meets the needs of employee and the Organization.

Designing a job analysis leads to preparation of job description and job specification. Both of them underlie the roles, responsibilities, and qualifications needed in the job. At the same time, the way jobs are designed has a significant influence on the employees and Organization. In this unit you will learn the concept, significance and methods of job analysis. You will further learn and have an insight about job design and it methods.


Job analysis is a process of determining which characteristics are necessary for satisfactory job performance and analysing the environmental conditions in which the job is performed. It analyses the work content of job & job content of work. The process of job analysis leads to development of two documents viz., and job specification.

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Job description indicates the tasks and responsibilities, job title, duties, machines, tools and equipment, working conditions and occupational hazards that form part of the job whereas job specification comprises of the capabilities required to perform job, education, experience, training, judgmental skills, communication skills and personal skills required to perform the job effectively.


Job analysis is a vital tool in taking a variety of human resource decisions. It is used to design and execute a number of human resource management activities and programs. They are described here:

  1. Manpower : job analysis helps in forecasting manpower requirements based on the knowledge and skills and quality of manpower needed in organization.
  2. Recruitment: A carefully designed job analysis provides information as to what sources of recruitment are to be used to hire employees. For example, job analysis in a retail stores about merchandise sorters tells that village level schools are potential source of recruitment.
  3. Selection: Selection of the right candidate to the right job can only be done with the help of job analysis. In the case of retail stores, a billing assistant can be selected with the knowledge of accounting, cash, and computer operations. This is possible with the help of job analysis.
  4. Training and Career Development: Job analysis provides valuable information to develop training programs. It provides information about what skills are to be trained. It also provides information about various techniques to be used in career development of employees.
  5. Placement and socialization: After people are selected and trained, they must be placed in suitable jobs. Job analysis provides information about the suitability of jobs. A clear job analysis guides the process to socialize the employees to develop sound relationships with all those persons.
  6. Compensation: Job analysis provides information as to how much compensation and other financial and non-financial benefits to be associated with each job.
  7. Employee Safety and Welfare: Job analysis details information on working conditions. Thus, management tries to provide safety and welfare measures that are outlined in job analysis.
  8. : Performance of employees is appraised based on standard criteria provided in the job analysis.
  9. Counselling: A good job analysis provides information to the superiors about the jobs. They use this information to guide and counsel employees about their career options, performance, training requirements and skill up-gradation.
  10. Strategic Planning: Job analysis enables human resource manager to develop a long-range strategic plan in all concerned areas of human resources.

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  1. Job Description: It is an important document. It is descriptive in nature. It is useful to identify a job for consideration by job analyst. Important questions to be answered through job description are:

What should be done? – Why it should be done? -Where it should be done?

There is no universal format of writing job description. According to Ghorpade the following information is common in most of the job descriptions.

  • Job title: title of the job and other identifying information such as wages, salaries, other benefits
  • Summary: summary is written in one or two lines that describes what outputs are expected from job incumbents.
  • Equipment: a clear statement of tools, equipment and other information required to perform job effectively.
  • Environment: a clear description of the working conditions of the job, the location and other characteristics of work environment such as hazards, noise, temperature, cleanliness etc.
  • Activities: a description about the job duties, responsibilities, and expected behaviour on the job. A description of social interactions associated with the job such as the size of work group, interpersonal interaction on the job is made. Job analyst writes job description in consultations with the workers and supervisors.

After writing draft job description, comments and criticism are invited to improve its content. Final draft is then prepared. Job description is written either by making personal observation or using questionnaire to collect relevant information from supervisors and workers. Job description should be reviewed from time to time.

  1. : It also known as man or employee specifications is prepared on the basis of job specification. It specifies the qualities required in a job incumbent for the effective performance of the job.

Basic contents of a job specification are as follows:

  1. Personal characteristics such as education, job experience, age, sex, and extra co-curricular activities.
  2. Physical characteristics such as height, weight, chest, vision, hearing, health, voice poise, and hand and foot coordination, (for specific positions only).
  3. Mental characteristics such as general intelligence, memory, judgment, foresight, ability to concentrate, etc.
  4. Social and psychological characteristics such as emotional ability, flexibility, manners, drive, conversational ability, interpersonal ability, attitude, values, creativity etc.

Various contents of a job specification can be prescribed in three terms:

  1. essential qualities which a person must possess;
  2. desirable qualities which a person may possess; and
  3. contra-indicators which are likely to become a handicap to successful job performance

3. Job evaluation: It is a process of determining the relative worth of a job. It is a process which is helpful even for framing compensation plans by the personnel manager.

Job evaluation as a process is advantageous to a company in many ways:

  1. Reduction in inequalities in salary structure – It is found that people and their is dependent upon how well they are being paid. Therefore the main objective of job evaluation is to have external and internal consistency in salary structure so that inequalities in salaries are reduced.
  2. Specialization – Because of division of labour and thereby specialization, a large number of enterprises have got hundred jobs and many employees to perform them. Therefore, an attempt should be made to define a job and thereby fix salaries for it. This is possible only through job evaluation.
  3. Helps in selection of employees – The job evaluation information can be helpful at the time of selection of candidates. The factors that are determined for job evaluation can be taken into account while selecting the employees.
  4. Harmonious relationship between employees and manager – Through job evaluation, harmonious and congenial relations can be maintained between employees and management, so that all kinds of salaries controversies can be minimized.
  5. Standardization – The process of determining the salary differentials for different jobs become standardized through job evaluation. This helps in bringing uniformity into salary structure.
  6. Relevance of new jobs – Through job evaluation, one can understand the relative value of new jobs in a concern.

According to Kimball and Kimball, “Job evaluation represents an effort to determine the relative value of every job in a plant and to determine what the fair basic wage for such a job should be.” Thus, job evaluation is different from performance appraisal. In job evaluation, worth of a job is calculated while in performance appraisal, the worth of employee is rated.

Key Takeaways

  • job analysis is a systematic approach to determine what a person actually does in his or her job. This process might involve a questionnaire to all employees. Based on this analysis, an accurate job description and job specifications can be written. A job description lists the components of the job, while job specifications list the requirements to perform the job.
  • Job specialization is the earliest approach to job design, originally described by the work of Frederick Taylor. Job specialization is efficient but leads to boredom and monotony. Early alternatives to job specialization include job rotation, job enlargement, and job enrichment. Research shows that there are five job components that increase the motivating potential of a job: Skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. Finally, empowerment is a contemporary way of motivating employees through job design. These approaches increase worker motivation and have the potential to increase performance.


Job analysis methods can be categorized into three basic types: (1) Observation Methods; (2) Interview; and (3) Questionnaire

  1. Observation Method: Observation of work activities and worker behaviors is a method of job analysis which can be used independently or in combination with other methods of job analysis.

Three methods of job analysis based on observation are: (i) Direct Observation; (ii) Work Methods Analysis; and (iii) Critical Incidents Technique.

(i) Direct Observation: Using direct observation, a person conducting the analysis simply observes employees in the performance of their duties. The observer either takes general notes or works from a form which has structured categories for comment. Everything is observed: what the worker accomplishes, what equipment is used etc. The limitation of this method is that it cannot capture the mental aspects of jobs, such as decision making or planning, since mental processes are not observable.

(ii) Work Methods Analysis: This method is used to describe manual and repetitive production jobs, such as factory or assembly-line jobs. This method is used by industrial engineers to determine standard rates of production.

(iii) Critical Incidents Technique: It involves observation and recording of examples of particularly effective or ineffective behaviors. Behaviours are judged to be “effective” or “ineffective” in terms of results produced by the behavior. In this method a person using the critical incidents must describe behaviour in retrospect, or after the fact, rather than as the activity unfolds. Accurate recording of past observations is more difficult than recording the behaviours as they occur.

  1. Interview: In this method, the Analyst interviews the employee, his supervisor and other concerned persons and record answers to relevant questions. The interviewer asks job related questions and a standard format is used to record the data. The limitation of this method is that it does not provide accurate information because the employee may not provide accurate information to protect his own interest. Success of this method depends upon the rapport between the analyst and the employee.

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 3. Questionnaire: In this method properly drafted questionnaires are sent to jobholders. Structured questionnaires on different aspects of a job are developed. Each task is described in terms of characteristics such as frequency, significance, difficulty and relationship to overall performance. The jobholders give their rating of these dimensions. The ratings obtained are analyzed and a profile of actual job is developed. This method provides comprehensive information about a job. The limitation of this method is that it is time consuming and costly.


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