A benchmark job is a job that tends to remain consistent across diverse organizations, allowing employers in various companies and even different industries to use it as a basis for evaluation and comparison. Data about such positions is readily available so that employers have information that they can use in the development of job descriptions and salaries. People may also refer to them as key jobs.
Several characteristics define a benchmark job. The first is that it is a job with a clear definition that is also generally consistent between departments and organizations. Even if the job title varies slightly, it has enough things in common with other types of positions that it is a fair basis for comparison. In addition, the job is a common position, which makes data on it readily available because many people across organizations and industries occupy similar positions.
Companies that collect job statistics usually have ample information about benchmark jobs available. This includes survey data that contains self-reporting on job responsibilities, salaries, benefits, and other information. This material can be used by an organization that wants to confirm that it is holding its employees to an industry standard of responsibility, and which wants to compare its wages with similar positions to ensure that they are fair. Employees can also use such data in employment negotiations if they feel that they are occupying benchmark positions and are not receiving appropriate compensation.
Survey data can be valuable for companies that are performing a job analysis. Such analyses are used to determine whether or not employee performance is optimal, how workplaces might be reorganized to increase efficiency and productivity, and how to improve employee attitudes in the workplace to make it a more pleasant place to work. A comparison with jobs at other companies may show an business that its employees are not earning a fair wage when compared with other people in the industry or that employees have unevenly divided responsibilities.
Some data on benchmark jobs may be available through public surveys. Websites that allow people to compare salaries and job responsibilities usually provide some information to the public, although paying for a subscription will often allow the user to access more detailed information. Print publications also provide similar levels of data access.
When looking at this type of job for the basis of comparison, it is important for individuals to be aware of the influence that geography has on wages. Wages for the same position can vary depending on where someone works.