Federal Job Classification:

Comparison of Job Content With Grades Assigned in Selected Occupations

GGD-96-20: Published: Nov 6, 1995. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the relationship between job content and General Schedule (GS) grades assigned using the Factor Evaluation System (FES), focusing on whether the relationship varied on the basis of the proportion of women and minorities in various occupations.

GAO found that: (1) the difference between actual GS grades and the grades based on job content under FES was directly related to female and minority representation in nonsupervisory positions reviewed; (2) the likelihood of a position being overgraded increased as the incumbents' GS grades increased, but there was no correlation between undergrading and GS grades; (3) occupations with high female representation were more likely to be undergraded than those occupations with medium or low female representation; (4) occupations with high minority representation were more likely to be overgraded than those occupations with medium or low minority representation; (5) classification experts believed that FES did not place sufficient value on the physical demands and working conditions of certain specialist occupations with high minority representation, which caused them to be overgraded on a strict FES basis; (6) private sector wage levels may have resulted in overgraded positions in computer-related occupations; (7) the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) needs to monitor its development of a new federal job classification system to ensure that disparities are identified and addressed; and (8) OPM has established a new oversight office which will conduct a governmentwide classification study.

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