Overview of the Hay Method

The Hay Guide Chart-Profile Method of Position Evaluation is the most widely used method of work measurement and role valuation in the world. It is used by more than 5,000 private and public sector organizations for the evaluation of all types and levels of jobs. Two recent studies in specific areas of the world validate the above information. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development in the UK found that 78% of organizations in the UK that use proprietary job evaluation systems use Hay. A Towers Perrin study revealed that 75% of all large private sector organizations in Europe use Hay evaluation for some of their jobs. Similar data could be developed for North America.

The system continues to evolve (as it always has), with client input, in response to changes in the environment such as pay equity legislation, the increasing use of technology in the workplace, and evolving ways of organizing work. It is used to support organization analysis and role design and to underpin grading and banding and can be customized to specific client and work culture requirements. The basic, underlying concepts have stood the test of time quite simply because they are so universal. They provide a framework to sort positions in an equitable manner.

The focus of the job evaluation process using the Hay Method is on the nature and the requirements of the job itself, not on the skills, educational background, personal characteristics, or the current salary of the person holding the job.

The Hay Method is based on the idea that jobs can be assessed in terms of the knowledge required to do the job, the thinking needed to solve the problems commonly faced the responsibilities assigned, and the working conditions associated with the job.

The Hay Method is comprised of four "Guide Charts" which are used to define each factor and to provide quantitative measures, which form the basis for evaluation. The four factors used by Hay are as follows:


This Guide Chart measures the total of every kind of knowledge and skill, however acquired, needed for acceptable job performance. It consists of three dimensions:

  • practical procedures and knowledge, specialized techniques, and learned skills;
  • the real or conceptual planning, co-ordinating, directing, and controlling of activities and resources associated with an organizational unit or function; and,
  • Active, practicing, person-to-person skills in the area of human relationships.

Problem Solving

This Guide Chart measures the thinking required in the job by considering two dimensions:

  • the environment in which the thinking takes place; and,
  • the challenge presented by the thinking to be done.


This Guide Chart measures the relative degree to which the job, performed competently, can affect the end results of the organization or of a unit within the organization. It reflects the level of decision-making and influence of the job through consideration, in the following order of importance, of:

  • the nature of the controls that limit or extend the decision-making or influence of the job;
  • the immediacy of the influence of the job on a unit or function of the organization; and,
  • the magnitude of the unit or function most clearly affected by the job.

Working Conditions

This Guide Chart measures the conditions under which the job is performed by considering:

  • Physical Effort, which measures the degree of physical fatigue that, results from the combination of intensity, duration, and frequency of any kind of physical activity required in the job.
  • Physical Environment, which measures the physical discomfort or the risk of accident or ill health which results from the combination of intensity, duration, and frequency of exposure, in the job, to unavoidable physical and environmental factors.
  • Sensory Attention, which measures the intensity, duration, and frequency of the demand, in the job, for concentration using one or more of the five senses.
  • Mental Stress, which measures the degree of such things as tension or anxiety which result from the combination of intensity, duration, and frequency of exposure to factors, inherent in the work process or environment, which would typically cause stress to someone reasonably suited to the job.

By focussing on the important aspects of the content of each job, the end results which each is expected to achieve, and the conditions under which the work is performed, the Hay Method provides a vehicle for systematically assessing the relationships among the various positions and determining their relative value.