Number: III.8.
Date Issued: April 18, 1991
Date Revised:


The purpose of these guidelines is to define the considerations in establishing broad classifications and allocating positions to broad classes.


Section III.2. Classification Methods and Practices
Section III.7. Comparable Class Guidelines


  1. In allocating a position to the appropriate classification, the fol lowing is considered: 

    1. The kind of work performed:

      1. Consider the appropriate broad occupational group.

        To determine where a position should be allocated, the primary criteria is whether or not the same kind of work is performed. (Is it engineering, accounting, clerical etc.) which is defined by the broad occupational group.

        The class schematic listing "Classes by Occupational Group" is a first, rough indicator. It is a rough indication for two reasons:

        1. its primary purpose is for salary administration (which classes should be adjusted together for pay purposes.)

        2. some "occupational categories" in the listing are so broadly defined that they encompass several occupational areas. An example of this is the Social Services and Related Group, which encompasses social work and employment counseling.

      2. Next consider, within the broad occupational group, is there a subgroup that is relevant?

      3. Secondary criteria in helping to define the kind of work are:

        1. Does the position require the same type of training? (Does the position require formal training in engineering, in accounting, etc.)

        2. Does the position require similar experience? (Does the position require case work experience, engineering design experience, etc.)

    2. The level of the work performed:

      Determine the level of work performed

      1. Trainee - formal training period in an on the job and/or classroom setting

      2. Entry

      3. Journey

      4. Advanced journey

      5. Specialist

      6. Lead

      7. 1st level - working supervisor

      8. Full supervisor

      9. Manager/administrator - program responsibility

    3. The nature of the work performed

      Once the broad occupational group, or subgroup and level of work have been identified, the next thing to consider is the nature of the work performed. The examples below are intended to clarify these factors.

      1. Attorney III-DA and Attorney III-County Counsel are within the same broad occupational area because they both entail the performance of professional legal services. They are related because:

        1. they require the same training;

        2. they both require the demonstration of grasp of the same basic knowledges through admission to the Bar;

        3. they both require experience in the practice of law;

        4. they both entail performing all but the most complex legal issues and cases with only occasional guidance.

      2. Clerk III and Account Clerk III are in the same broad occupational group (i.e., clerical), and are at the same level (i.e., super journey). However, they are not related. While many Clerk III positions perform recordkeeping, it is not financial recordkeeping, and does not require formal training and/or experience in bookkeeping or maintaining accounting or financial records. A Clerk III is not comparable to an Account Clerk III.

    4. What class requires comparable qualifications?

      1. A review of specific knowledges and abilities is necessary to determine a class with comparable qualifications. The class must require the same knowledges, and the same depth or level of knowledge. For example, a position may require a knowledge of the theory and operation of internal combustion gasoline engines, but the class requires a working knowledge and the position requires a thorough knowledge. These would not be comparable qualifications because a working knowledge entails a comprehension of standard situations and problems and the most significant aspects on the subject, while a thorough knowledge entails a wide coverage of the subject, the solving of unusual problems, and being able to advise others on technical problems.

        Similarly, classes would not be comparable if one requires "some" and the other a "working" knowledge of the same subject. "Some Knowledge entails sufficient familiarity with the subject to know elementary principles and terminology and to solve simple problems; it does not entail solving standard or average problems or grasp of most significant aspects of the subject matter.

      2. Two classes may be in the same broad occupation group and be related, but not have comparable qualifications. The classes of Attorney III-DA and Attorney III-County Counsel, discussed above, are illustrative of this concept. While they perform the same kind and level of work, the one requires a working knowledge of criminal law, while the other requires a working knowledge of civil, constitutional and administrative law.

        The classes of Clerk II and Typist Clerk II are also illustrative of two related classes in the same broad occupational group, but with non-comparable qualifications. While positions in both classes may perform identical general clerical duties at the same level 75% of the time and both perform typing 25% of the time, a Typist Clerk II performs production typing which requires a working knowledge of standard typewriter set-ups and formats and a specified production speed, and some Clerk II positions type listings, form letters and the like at a significantly lower speed.

      3. Another factor to be considered in determining whether or a position and a class have comparable qualifications is the exam process for each. This is especially true when knowledges and abilities are stated in general terms. When there are broad classes and/or statements of knowledge and ability in general terms, the exam content typically adds specificity to the general requirements.

        If the knowledges and abilities are stated in general terms which are the same, but the exam process and content are significantly different, then the position and the class do not possess comparable qualifications because different behaviors/subject matter is being tested for in each case. For example, the class may require the "ability to identify and analyze problem areas", however, the problems dealt with by the position may be financial and a written test may be used to measure this. The class may deal with organization problems, and an oral exam is used to measure this ability.

  2. If it determined that the position meets all of the comparisons to be allocated to an existing class, then no further review is necessary. If however, the comparisons do not match, it may be determined that a specialized class is required.

  3. Where it has been past practice to develop many specialized classes, classification maintenance allows the opportunity to consider combining more than one specialized class into a broad class or series. The above criteria is used to determine the appropriateness of this.