A less than enthusiastic description of computer assisted job evaluation schemes. Their being characterised as the feeding in the answers to a barely adequate questionnaire at one end, and the extraction of ready made results at the other.

Perhaps, a far too simplistic description, however it serves to highlight an important feature of such schemes. That is, that what occurs in the ‘black box’ during the transition from input to output is the primary determinant of the evaluation results.

In one sense all that happens is that a mathematical formula, often referred to as an algorithm, is applied to the input information. However, from a pay equity standpoint there is a major problem. Namely, that all too frequently there is a total lack of transparency as to what the algorithm covers and how it is calculated.

Given that most computer assisted job evaluation schemes are developed and marketed by a substantial number of management consultants, the usual answers are either that;

  • the information is either covered by commercial confidentiality; or
  • the algorithm was devised so long ago that other than the fact that the scheme appears to work in practice, precise information on how the algorithm is constructed, no longer exists.

Unfortunately neither set of arguments resolves the need for transparency. Until it is a scheme of this type will remain vulnerable to the taint of sex discrimination.

See: Computer Assisted Job Evaluation

Black Box Approach