NOTES TO ACCOMPANY THE
If you require assistance with the completion of the PEQ, please email your query to
ETSSC DET Classifications
Table of Contents
Notes to Accompany Position Evaluation Questionnaire
Use of the Position Evaluation Questionnaire ................................................. 3
The Ten Factor System .................................................................................... 3
General Principles ............................................................................................ 5
Factor 1: Education .................................................................................... 7
Factor 2: Experience .................................................................................. 8
Factor 3: Scope of Activities ....................................................................... 9
Factor 4 Interpersonal Skills ...................................................................... 13
Factor 5: Kind of Problems ......................................................................... 14
Factor 6: Instructions Received .................................................................. 15
Factor 7: Influence on Results ................................................................... 16
Factor 8: Size of Organisation .................................................................... 17
Factor 9: FTE's Supervised/Controlled ...................................................... 17
Factor 10: Sub-Ordination Level .................................................................. 18
Notes to Accompany PEQ
USE OF POSITION EVALUATION QUESTIONNAIRE
The first step in determining the classification level of an office is for a Position
Evaluation Questionnaire (PEQ) to be completed by someone who understands clearly
the nature and requirements of the position (ie office holder or the supervisor/manager).
Completion of the form requires careful thought and consideration. This task should be
preceeded by a thorough reading of these accompanying notes.
When the office holder or supervisor has ticked the degree for each factor that he/she
considers appropriate, the responses should be reviewed by someone at the next
management level and any areas of disagreement be discussed and resolved.
When both officers are satisfied that the responses provide an accurate description of
the appropriate degree of each factor, the completed questionnaire should be signed by
both parties and forwarded to the Classification Review Officers for classification
determination. Remember, the PEQ is only one part of the application. A completed
Rationale, JDF and comparison JDF should also form part of the application.
THE TEN FACTOR SYSTEM
This system for assessing appropriate classification levels is built around ten factors
which are common to most position evaluation systems. The system takes each factor
and subdivides each into a number of degrees, to each of which a point score has been
awarded. These scores are determined by the relevant importance of a degree in
relation to the factor under consideration.
The ten factors on which each position is assessed and the question asked in relation to
each factor are as follows:
What is the minimum essential level of education required for the position?
How many years of varied and accumulated, practical experience in related
positions are need to perform in this position?
3. Scope of Activities
How varied are the activities performed and/or co-ordinated by the office holder?
4. Interpersonal Skills
How demanding is the job in terms of contacting, negotiating and gaining the co-
operation of others inside and outside the organisation?
5. Kind of Problems
What type of analytical and creative ability is required for the position?
6. Instructions Received
How much independence does the office holder have?
Notes to accompany PEQ 3
7. Influence on Results
How important is the position to the achievement of overall results by the
8. Size of Organisation Unit
What is the current Approved Average Staffing Level (expressed in terms of
Full Time Equivalents -FTE's)?
Department of Education and Training has a degree of 7
9. Personnel Supervised/Controlled
How many FTE's does the office holder directly supervise as well as having
10. Sub-ordination Level
Where is the position placed in the organisational hierarchy?
Notes to accompany PEQ
Think Clearly About the Requirements of the Office
In completing the PEQ you are asked to examine each factor (apart from factor 8) as it
relates to the position under review and to tick the 'degree' most appropriate to the
position. Before beginning this evaluation, think broadly about the position profile and
consider on which factors you would expect the position to score high degrees and on
which the degrees will be relatively low. Also make sure that the supplementary
information you provide for Factors 1-7 reflects the logic of the degree ticked and that it
is clear and relevant.
Understanding the structural reporting relationships of the position
In order to give the correct response on each of the ten factors, it is important for the
person completing the PEQ to understand clearly where the position under review fits
into the organisational structure.
Organisations are designed according to their own requirements and can vary in
structure over time. However, most organisations employ a hierarchical structure with
one position (typically Chief Executive Officer) at the FIRST LEVEL of the organisation
and others at lower levels. Positions reporting directly to the Chief Executive Officer are
said to be at SECOND LEVEL and so on, down the organisation.
The first task is to place the position in relation to the hierarchical structure. Keep these
structural reporting relationships in mind when determining the appropriate degree for
factors 3, 5, 6, 7, and of course 10. For these factors (except in certain situations for
factor 5) it would be inappropriate for a subordinate to require the same or a higher
degree than its supervisory position. Therefore when determining the degree for this
factor, think about the degrees required for supervisory and subordinate positions as
well as the degree which may be appropriate to the position under review.
Competent Not Ideal Performance
Keep in mind at all times the fact that the degree score on each factor should be the
minimum required for competent performance, not the ideal that would permit superior
or exceptional performance. There is a natural tendency for people to over rate the
degree required on some factors; this will not occur if you think logically about what
constitutes competent performance, and about the duties and responsibilities of the
Position Not the Person
Remember at all times that it is the position profile that is being assessed, not the
activities or competencies of the officer holder. In particular take care not to over
estimate the essential qualifications and experience required because the present
incumbent has achieved a particular educational level and/or has come to the position
from a particular work background.
Notes to accompany PEQ 2
Avoid Double Counting
Be careful not to double count. This can happen if you assume that because a position
is complex it requires a high level of Education, a high level of Experience and a high
score on Kinds of Problems.
This may be true, but in fact if a high level of Education is required for the position this
may mean that a lower score is necessary in relation to Kind of Problems.
For example an engineer deals with problems which would be complex for someone
without a degree in engineering but which are straight forward for someone who has this
FACTOR 1: EDUCATION
The Questionnaire lists six possible degrees for this factor.
It is important to keep in mind the question being asked ie:
What is the MINIMUM level of education ESSENTIAL to competently carry out the
assigned tasks and responsibilities of this position?
In responding to this question, do not consider either the qualifications of the current
office holder or the ideal/desirable educational level.
The following examples may be helpful:
1 Driver, Storeperson.
2 Laboratory Attendant, Receptionist, Telephonist, Technical Assistant, and most
positions in the administrative and clerical field.
3 Technical Officer.
4 Draftsperson, Engineering Associate, Senior Technical Officer.
5 Formally recognised Degree level or above qualifications, Professionals, eg.
Librarian, Dentist, Engineer, Social Worker.
6 Positions requiring professional qualification plus additional educational qualification
in a different discipline or a higher degree.
NB. Although a reasonably large number of public sector employees are educated
to degree level 6, jobs REQUIRING degree 6 are rare and are usually very senior in
As factors of Education and Experience partially compensate for each other, it is
important to read the notes before completing the questionnaire for factors 1 and 2.
Notes to Accompany PEQ 3
FACTOR 2: EXPERIENCE
It is important to keep in mind the question that is being asked ie:
In addition to the basic and MINIMAL educational requirements for this position,
how may years of varied and accumulated practical experience is required for the
The number of years of varied and accumulated experience does not equate to
numbers of years in the workforce or total in the position experience. Five years
experience in the position may be one year of experience five times over.
Varied and accumulated experience does relate to the number of years required to
climb the learning curve to the point where a person is able to carry out the duties and
responsibilities of the position competently. The following examples may be helpful:
Previous Jobs Elapsed Time Varied and Accumulated
Laboratory Assistant 2 years 1.0 year
Laboratory Technician 4 years 1.5 years
6 years 2.5 years
Thus for this position Degree 2 would be appropriate.
Some positions require a high degree of credibility for competent performance within the
organisation. An example would be the Equal Opportunity Officer who must have the
background and ability to influence people at all levels of the organisation.
Thus 4-6 years varied and accumulated experience (ie. degree level 3) might well be
appropriate. There is no career progression for this type of position but the following
kinds of varied and accumulated practical experience would be appropriate.
(Note: This is a guide only - not a prescription for the actual experience required).
Equal Opportunity Officer
Previous Jobs Elapsed Time Varied and Accumulated
Research Assistant 3 years 2.0 years
Policy Officer 2.5 years 1.0 year
Community Liaison Officer 4 years 2.5 years
9 years 5.5 years
Notes to Accompany PEQ 4
Some positions require an accumulation of experience to solve recurring problems
which in themselves are not necessarily complex. For example an Accounting
Supervisor may require 4-6 years varied accumulated experience.
Where a position has supervisory or management responsibility for a number of people,
the experience required may include the opportunity to acquire skills in a number of
related areas and in less complex supervisory jobs. However again, varied and
accumulated experience is not likely to equate to elapsed time in the workforce.
FACTOR 3: SCOPE OF ACTIVITIES
This factor measures:
the diversity of activities (see definition below); and
the breadth of the role performed, co-ordinated or supervised by the position.
Question asked are:
To what extent does the position carry out different activities and how varied are
To what extent does the position need to know about other operations, activities etc.
outside the position area.
This factor is hierarchical in nature. It would not be logical for a subordinate to score
higher than its supervisor.
In order to be able to identify the correct degree for the position under review, it is
important to understand the definitions used in the description of degrees for this
The following definitions and examples may be helpful:
Activity: A defined area of work that collectively with other related activities,
determines a functional work area. The notion of similar, differing and
widely differing activities related to the actual variety of duties an
incumbent performs, or supervises, within a function. (See function
Example: (i) Similar Activities:
A personnel officer position which is solely based on recruitment activities within the
organisation, including ensuring position specifications are completed, placing the
advertisement, answering correspondence, short listing candidates and participating
(ii) Differing Activities:
The same position also has responsibility for operator and supervisor
(iii) Very Different Activities (but within the same function):
Notes to Accompany PEQ 5
The position also has responsibility for salary administration, performance appraisal
and staff training.
Function: A number of related work areas that can be distinguished from other
work areas; for example: the Finance function can be defined and
distinguished from the Human Resource function.
Small Group - Up to ten FTEs
Large Group - Eleven or more FTEs.
Remember FTE = Full Time Equivalent and not the number of positions.
In order to distinguish between terms used, it may be also helpful to consider the
Function or Activity?
Responsibility for managing a function usually resides within the top two or three levels
of the organisation. In some smaller agencies where Human Resources, Finance and
Information Technology for example are grouped under Corporate Services, they are
probably more correctly described as work areas.
If the scope of activities for the position under review is not clear, check from the bottom
of the organisation chain to make sure there is sufficient (and logical) room to
incorporate every role.
The following organisation structure may be helpful:
Manager Building & Property In a large Agency with many property assets, this
position is probably a FUNCTION.
Supervisor Buildings & Property Assuming this position has a role in Planning the
Maintenance program, an input to new buildings etc., it
is likely to be performing VERY DIFFERENT activities.
Maintenance Foreperson: This position is directing and supervising DIFFERING
Leading Hand Carpentry activities.
Leading Hand Electrician
Leading Hand Workshop
Each Leading Hand is probably performing SIMILAR activities.
Limited or Substantial Knowledge of Other Functional Areas?
If a project leader is involved in consulting to other agencies or other branches of the
Agency, he or she will require substantial knowledge of other functional areas (ie.
Notes to Accompany PEQ 6
The extent to which a position should be evaluated as requiring substantial knowledge
of other areas is entirely dependent on the requirement for the position to have a clear
and full knowledge of the operations and activities of other functions.
"Substantial Knowledge" implies more than needing to know and adhere to policies
and procedures, or to apply organisation systems in different environments. Substantial
Knowledge requires the office holder to appreciate differences and issues faced in one
(or more) areas and to understand the implications or effects of applying or developing
policies in other functional areas.
There are two major situations in which substantial knowledge will be required:
Management of an activity or function that clearly requires this wider knowledge.
Provision of consulting services which require the position incumbent to develop a
comprehensive knowledge of the area(s) in which he or she is consulting.
Similar or Differing?
Where a position undertakes one activity that is different from the balance of the job,
but which is not central to the position purpose, it is unlikely to qualify under differing
For Example: A technician involved in demonstrating operations and processes
ie. similar activities is asked to make a video tape of the
demonstrations. Making a video is different, but is not a key
component of the position itself.
It is also important to ensure that the activity is not confused with the manner in which it
is carried out. For example a technician engaged in fabricating from wood metal and
plastics involved in one activity - fabricating.
Consider a technician who does the following:
prepares and arranges field trips;
collects and analyses various samples;
teaches and supervises students in scuba diving techniques to enable them to
participate in field trips.
Scuba instruction is a regular and substantial part of the position. In this case, the office
may be considered to cover DIFFERING activities.
Generally speaking a collection of activities in one position which includes research and
investigative work, consulting to outside bodies and demonstrating to students may be
considered to be DIFFERING.
An Electronic Data Processor Project leader involved in systems design covering both
hardware and software activities, is engaged in DIFFERING activities because they
cross the boundary between computer programming and engineering/technical tasks.
Notes to Accompany PEQ 7
FACTOR 4: INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
This factor considers the demands of the position in terms of contacting, negotiating
and gaining the co-operation of others, apart from personnel who are immediately
above or below the office holder.
In completing this section, it is important to be aware of, and understand the following
Frequency of Contacts
Occasional: A few times a month
Frequent: On a regular but not daily basis
Skills in Negotiations and Gaining Co-operation
Normal: For dealing with routine matters, exchange of information, explanation of
Good: For making contacts of a more demanding nature and where it is
essential to co-operate with or influence people. Good skills would be
required for negotiations, interviews, group discussions and
Maximum: For making high-level decisions within the Organisation and negotiating
on the highest levels. Maximum negotiating and consultative skills are
normally required only of Chief Executive Officers or First Line
Internal: Contacts are mainly within the Department.
External: At least 25% of the working contacts (ie. duties) are outside the
Department and are of a difficult and complex nature. (ie. involve
negotiations with Unions and/or Senior Executives in the public or
Contacts include telephone contacts. Thus if the position requires the occupant to
spend more than 25% of his/her time to telephoning routine medical results through
to hospitals or medical practitioners, degree 2 (frequent, normal, internal) would be
Notes to Accompany PEQ 8
FACTOR 5: KIND OF PROBLEMS
This factor measures the analytical and creative abilities that are required for the
developing or innovating methods and techniques;
solving problems with or without the benefit of previous applications; and/or
solving extensive and complicated administrative problems.
Whilst Kind of Problems is not a strictly hierarchical factor, it is unlikely that
subordinate positions will be greater than or equal to the supervisor on the degree for
DEGREE Degree Levels 1-9 are all concerned with certainty of result. ie. Problems
can be solved on the basis of past experience.
1-3 Situations at this level of complexity consist of making choices between
clearly known and very limited alternatives. Choices are governed by
4-6 At degrees 4-5, the challenges of the position are frequently encountered
in the position itself over time. In this degree band, the range of choices
is greater but these are generally found in some type of procedures
manual. At degree 6, some interpretation of written procedures may be
7-9 The range of choices expands again and the various implications of
various alternatives need to be investigated and understood before
action is taken. At degree 7 and 8, challenges can normally be met from
within job guidelines but at degree levels 8 and 9, a time lag may occur
before the effects of the solution implemented become apparent.
Degree Levels 10-18 all relate to situations in which new techniques and
solutions to complex problems must be developed.
10-12 Past practice from either personal experience or the relevant
professional body of knowledge must be adapted to suit new issues.
Data must be analysed and interpreted to reach alternative options for a
solution to problems.
This degree may be appropriate to middle management positions where
scarce resources must be allocated between competing demands.
Some high level technical/scientific (eg. applied research) positions
which require a full professional basis may rate this degree level.
13-15 Normally applicable to very senior management roles/Chief Executives
where the outcome of decisions may not be evident for some time (eg.
one year or more).
Advanced research project leaders may also be in this category.
Notes to Accompany PEQ 9
16-18 Applicable to research leaders involved in 'cutting edge' scientific activities
and the Chief Executives and other very senior personnel who influence
strategic decisions where the outcomes may not be known for 3-5 years.
FACTOR 6: INSTRUCTIONS RECEIVED
The question being asked here is:
How free is the office holder to make and implement decisions without
reference to, or directions from, supervisors, procedures and other
This factor is hierarchical. It is not logical to have a supervisor and subordinate with
the same degree of independence.
The responses on this factor should relate to the previous factor (Factor 5).
To solve problems at a particular level, (eg. degree 7-9 where "Position holder is
expected to improve and develop methods and techniques"), in this instance the
office holder does not have the freedom to act independently at degree level 7-9.
Typically the degree on this factor will be equal to, or less than that for Factor 5 Kinds
of Problems. It should not normally be higher than that Factor 5. This allows for the
fact that a subordinate can propose or recommend courses of action but requires
approval from a more senior officer.
1-3 The position is highly constrained by either procedures or supervisory
direction. The officer holder's greatest freedom is in certain exceptional
situations to choose methods, material and equipment.
4-6 At this level, the office holder sets work priorities within schedules and targets
set by someone else. This degree may include supervisory roles where those
supervised, and the supervisor, are generally doing very similar activities but
where the supervisor is, in fact, allocating work to others.
7-9 A full supervisory/middle management position where the office holder is
constrained by general policies of the unit. Due to resource considerations,
approvals are often required from other position holders or committees.
10-12 This degree includes middle to higher level management roles where an office
holder is accountable for an operating branch or group of people. Generally, the
office holder is free to act for operating decisions in the short to medium term
(eg. up to 12-18 months) providing resources required are approved.
13-15 Normally applicable to Chief Executive Officers only.
Notes to Accompany PEQ 10
FACTOR 7: INFLUENCE ON RESULTS
This factor measures the extent to which the office holder can influence the Agency's
results. The degree of influence must be considered in the context of overall Agency
programs and activities.
The factor is hierarchical in nature, thus responses should be checked against degrees
appropriate for other positions that come within the structural reporting relationships for
the position under review.
Many of the degree statements include a reference to hierarchical levels (ie. third,
fourth etc.). These are for guidance only and may not be applicable to large or
very small agencies.
The appropriate degree for each position should be clear if the following definitions are
kept in mind:
Impact Influence on Agency's results
Discrete An activity which is highly specific and focused. It will normally
Job Area correspond with degree Level 2/3 on Scope of Activities (eg.
responsibility for Job Classification/Assessment may fit this
Job Area A set of activities which requires integration and/or co-ordination
with other activities (eg. responsibility for industrial relations may fit this
As used here, the terms listed below describe the impact which particular functions have
on the unit's results; that is, on the extent to which the organisation's objectives are
achieved, and/or the impact which particular job areas have on the results of a function
"Limited" Influence is barely discernible, and of a co-ordinating nature, eg.
filing clerk, data input operator.
"Some" Influence is easily discernible, and usually of a co-ordinating
nature, eg concerned with the delivery of resources or service
"Considerable" Influence is quite marked, and usually of a "front line" nature,
eg positions which manage the provision of resources (ie.
library or business management).
"Large" Influence is prominent and important in the achievement of key
results for the function/program or Agency, eg. positions that
direct the primary program/functions of the Agency.
Notes to Accompany PEQ 11
FACTOR 8: SIZE OF ORGANISATION
The degree for this factor is determined for the Department by the Public Sector
Management Office. The Department of Education and Training is rated as Degree 7.
FACTOR 9: FTE'S SUPERVISED/CONTROLLED
This factor considers the total number of employees calculated in full time equivalents
(FTE's), for which the office holder is responsible, ie has under control. Thus the Director
General is responsible for all the Agency's FTE's while Manager are responsible for
FTE's within their functional or program area.
Include all personnel for whom the position is responsible, but convert number of
employees to full time equivalents.
FACTOR 10: SUB-ORDINATION LEVEL
This factor takes into account the subordination level of the position in relation to the
Department’s structure. For example, officers reporting to the Director General are
SECOND LEVEL management.
Organisations are designed according to their own requirements and can vary in
structure over time. However most organisations employ hierarchical structure with one
position (typically Chief Executive Officer/DG) at the FIRST LEVEL of the organisations
and others at lower levels.
The Deputy Director Generals positions or Executive Directors reporting directly to the
Director General are said to be at the SECOND LEVEL and so on down the
Now turn to the Position Evaluation Questionnaire page 3 and indicate where the
position under review fits into the organisational structure, taking particular care to
indicate correctly the hierarchical level of the position counting downwards from the
Director General (equals - FIRST LEVEL).
For a more complete description of the relationship between organisation structure
and classification refer to page 5.
Notes to Accompany PEQ 12