Job evaluation

HERA (Higher Education Role Analysis)

The HERA job evaluation scheme covers the grading of all staff apart from academic and research staff, who are covered by a different but related, review process. HERA is used in more than 120 higher education institutions in the UK and is acknowledged to be a fair, objective and reasonable way to evaluate roles across the university sector.

Job analysts

The HERA scheme is coordinated by the Employee Relations Team. The team is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the HERA job evaluation scheme and the grading review procedure.

There are also a number of job analysts trained to evaluate posts under the HERA scheme. All the Senior Employee Relations (ER) Advisers and ER Advisers in People and Culture are job analysts. In addition, there are a number of job analysts in the professional services areas, as well as a group of job analysts nominated by the trade unions.

The HERA scheme is used both the grading of staff in post and also to establish the grading for a new post.

Grading review procedure

The following sets out the arrangements for the grading of academic-related and professional services posts Grade 1 to Grade 11.

  • Posts are initially assessed by the job analysts.
  • The results of the initial evaluation may be appealed and the appeal will be heard by a panel of other job analysts who have not been involved in the initial evaluation.
  • Staff may, at any time, request an informal interview with a job analyst to discuss the merits of proceeding to a formal role evaluation. The outcome of the interview will have no effect on the individual's current grading or salary point. For more information, please contact your appropriate Employee Relations Adviser.

This procedure will apply when there have been changes or increases to the duties of an existing post which have taken place over a period of time.

The role evaluation

A member of staff, or a head on behalf of the post holder, may request an evaluation of the duties of a post, provided that the post has not been the subject of a recent grading review. Normally, no post will be reviewed more than once every two years. If a member of staff or head believes that significant changes have been made to the duties of their post, then a review request may be made within the two-year time-frame.

If a member of staff or head would like a post to be evaluated:

  1. An outline job description will be prepared by the individual and agreed with the head. If there are any on-going performance issues then these will be resolved at the time that the job description is agreed between post holder and head.
  2. The post holder will then complete a Record of Evidence - (Grading Review Form), which includes the outline job description) relating to his/her post and agree this with the head. The member of staff will be given reasonable time during normal working hours to complete the Record of Evidence - (Grading Review Form). This process should normally take no more than three weeks from the date on which the outline job description has been agreed.
  3. A completed Record of Evidence - (Grading Review Form) and job description will then be passed to the relevant ER Adviser for submission to a HERA panel, which is held on a fortnightly basis. The panel consists of two trained Job analysts.
    The job analysts will review the Record of Evidence - (Grading Review Form) under the HERA evaluation framework and may interview the post holder and/or the head or relevant line manager. A post holder may request an interview with the job analysts, which may include his/her head.
  4. The job evaluation process should normally take no more than four weeks from the date on which the Record of Evidence was submitted.

The job analysts will inform the manager of the outcome of the evaluation. The information provided by the analysts will include a breakdown of the levels awarded to the post, an explanation of what this means for the post holder and the total score for the post.

The decision of the HERA panel will then be communicated to the employee via the Head of Department. If the member of staff makes no representations within the two week period, they will assume that the member of staff accepts the analyst's decision.


It is possible to appeal against the decision of the job analysts on the grading and score for a post if there are grounds for doing so. This will include disagreement about the substantive interpretation of evidence, as well as a breach of these procedures.

If the member of staff wishes to lodge an appeal, they should notify the ER adviser in writing or by email, normally within a period of two weeks of receiving the outcome of the initial evaluation. The notification should include a statement of the elements of the decision with which the member of staff disagrees.

On receipt of this submission, an appeal panel will be convened consisting of three job analysts, normally including one trade union representative, one member of People and Culture, and one faculty or professional services representative. None of the analysts will have had any involvement in the original evaluation.

The appeal panel will be provided with all relevant documentation, including the original Record of Evidence - (Grading Review Form), the outcome of the evaluation based on it and the grounds for the appeal provided by the member of staff. The panel will invite the member of staff and head for an interview. The panel will re-assess and re-score those aspects of the original evaluation which have been challenged and inform the Head of Department of the outcome, and the reasons for it, based on the re-evaluation.

The information provided by the panel will include a breakdown of any new levels awarded to the post, an explanation of what this means for the post holder and the total score for the post. The decision of the panel will be final.

If the panel's decision leads to a re-grading, the appropriate ER adviser will discuss this directly with the Head of Department.

The formal appeal process should normally be completed no more than four weeks after it starts.

Implementation of decisions

Upgrading of posts

If the post under review is to be up-graded, then this will normally be effective from the first day of the month following the submission of the completed record of evidence, unless there are compelling reasons for this to be an earlier date. Reasons for agreeing a different implementation date would include the clear identification of an earlier date at which additional duties leading to a re-grading have been added to a post. In the event of a dispute on this matter then the decision of the Chair of the FSSSC will be final. The post holder and/or the head may make representations to the Chair of the FSSSC on this matter before a decision is finally reached. 

Posts assessed at a lower grade

If a grading review indicates that the grade for an individual's post should be lower than that on which the person is currently employed, then a post will be "red-circled". This means that the individual's pay will be protected for a period of time - normally no longer than two years and the composition of the duties allocated to the post will be reviewed. This review will involve the post-holder, the relevant head of department, school or section, the link People and Culture Officer and the person's Trade Union Representative or workplace colleague.

The purpose of the review will be to add duties and responsibilities (if possible) to the post in order to enable the post to remain at its current grading. If this isn't possible, then the post will move to the evaluated grade at the end of a two year period following the review and the salary will be reduced accordingly.

Job evaluation for new posts

All new posts must be reviewed and graded via the HERA scheme before the recruitment process can commence. 

Heads of Schools/Department/Professional Services must complete the Role Outline Form (.doc, Essex users only) and submit this to the appropriate Employee Relations Adviser. A copy of the job description/person specification must also be attached to the form. 

Guidance documents

The following documents are available to Essex users only.

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