grade drift

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Is the process whereby jobs may be regraded, and so migrate up a graded pay structure, without any significant change in their content. As a consequence, jobholders will receive a higher rate of pay without assuming any additional or more demanding job functions. Grade drift is an indicator of the degeneration of a graded pay structure and may arise for a number of different reasons, including weak management control systems, labour market pressures, and the possession of bargaining power by jobholders. It has been a particular feature of public service organizations, where managers have allowed grade drift as a means of maintaining rates of pay of employees in the face of incomes policy, which threatens to erode earnings. Symptoms of grade drift include the gradual emptying of jobs from the bottom grades of a pay structure and a clustering of jobs in the middle and highest grades over time.

Subjects: Human Resource Management.

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