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Yes, as new unique hybrid jobs are created and right-sizing spreads more work over fewer workers, Job Evaluation (JE) will become more important as traditional benchmarks fail to offer proper peer comparisons for the increasing number of "one-off" jobs. But the market will always rule.

The market always trumps any form of job evaluation that attempts to ignore it. Want to know how old a job evaluation plan is? Compute the lowest points possible for a real job... that will represent the minimum wage in the year the plan was originally designed. All job evaluation plans by definition must produce values that exceed the market-clearing point that permits effective hiring. JE is most popular/successful in enterprises that pay far above the norm and where internal equity can easily be used because it almost always exceeds the outside external competitive market rate for replacements. Companies typically dump JE not only because it becomes too complex, too subjective and too political but mostly because the periodic formula changes fail to keep up with pay market realities and you can't AR&M competent workers any more.

Pay equity get dragged in with job evaluation for a number of reasons. One is that JE permits simpler and easier comparisions of all jobs, not just benchmarks, and the value comparability is not always faithfully replicated in the pay comparability. Sure, equal work brings equal pay; however, not-quite but almost identical work can show dramatic pay differences when protected classes are involved. Then, JE can be a smoking gun if it seems to prove that comparable jobs do not receive comparable pay when a woman or minority holds it. THAT is the guts of scary comparable-worth pay equity logic: whatever your particular competitive market or your unique internal value system (not someone else's or one established by some outside force, just YOURS), your job value system must allow pay without regard to protected class status.

Pretending that the issue is "CW feminazis simply want a federal pay czar to make you pay secretaries like truck drivers" is ridiculous polemic cant believed only by the White Power types who repeat it to themselves reassuringly like a mantra. Although I'm a guy, I suspect the Secretary of State really ought to be paid more than her driver, though... and I believe the Federal General Pay Schedule and Executive Schedule do agree, in that case.

Jim:

Your position seems to be that as long as we try to do the right thing and do it consistently, we have absolutely nothing to fear from comparable worth or any other pay legislation. Problem is, "right" can be a relative thing. So can "consistent" be. Well-intended, smart people can look at the same situation and draw vastly different conclusions about how "right" and "consistent" it is. Perhaps your faith in mankind is just greater than mine. But I hope you're right (no pun intended...)

Aw, being a grown-up, I know better than that. The optimal solutions to known pay equity problems are simply more subtle, more difficult and more sophisticated than claimed by those who would prefer to grossly mischaracterize and blithely dismiss them as "looney tunes."

Good intentions are not enough; they can lead you to many bad places. The highest court in the land used to unconsciously flaunt EEO law by discriminatory hiring practices, but they'd kill ME if I outed them today, now that we have Ledbetter extending the statute of limitations.

Ann,
great blog post on the evolution of the different job evaluation methods. To your question though of whether we are looking at a job evaluation revival, I think the answer is yes.

Longer winded response in my blog, but simply put, I think organizations are going to realize that having a hybrid approach to evaluating jobs is a more comprehensive approach. Legislation may force the change, but I would like to think that folks will recognize the value in having a comprehensive understanding of the work being done in their organizaitons will actually be a strategic competitive business advantage.

http://ckell23.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/internal-equity-v-external-competitiveness/

Thanks for the comment and the link, Chris.

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    Compensation consultant Ann Bares is the Managing Partner of Altura Consulting Group. Ann has more than 20 years of experience consulting with organizations in the areas of compensation and performance management.

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