University of Minnesota
Office of Human Resources

Introduction to Job Analysis

What Is Job Analysis?

Job analysis is the systematic study of jobs to identify the observable work activities, tasks, and responsibilities associated with a particular job or group of jobs.

What job analysis is:

  • It is a systematic method for gathering information
  • It focuses on work behaviors, tasks, and outcomes
  • It identifies the personal qualifications necessary to perform the job and the conditions under which work is performed
  • It reports the job as it exists at the time of analysis; not as it was in the past nor as it exists in another organization

What job analysis is not:

  • It is not an analysis of thought processes, attitudes, traits, or aptitudes
  • It is not a time and motion study
  • It is not an analysis of an individual position

Why Do Job Analysis?

  • Job data obtained by job analysis serves a variety of organizational purposes and provides a basis for decision making. Click here for a listing of common applications of job analysis.
  • Job analysis serves as a legal compliance tool for EEOC and ADA
  • Job analysis can be used to help organizations cope with change. In today's rapidly changing world, organizations need a flow of accurate and reliable information about the content and requirements of their jobs.

The OHR Compensation Study is using job analysis to meet these goals:

  • Develop broader, more flexible job classifications
  • Describe the work of the job family
  • Identify and differentiate functions within the job family
  • Develop a common language to describe work
  • Aid in bargaining unit classification
  • Conduct market studies of salaries
  • Apply FLSA for exempt/nonexempt work

How Is Job Analysis Conducted?

Job analysts use a variety of job analysis methods to gather job information. Each methodology has advantages and disadvantages. Choosing a "best" method depends on the type of work being performed, the environment or employer, and the desired outcomes or applications of the analysis.

The OHR Compensation Study utilizes a task inventory approach that is developed in questionnaire format. Gathering information about the work being performed is a participative process in the study. A representative group of employees working in the jobs being studied are asked to describe their work. These individuals are referred to as subject matter experts (SMEs). The SMEs participate in a series of workshops to develop an inventory of tasks that describes their work and the related requirements and competencies.

The inventory is then developed into a questionnaire. This questionnaire is administered to all job incumbents to efficiently and accurately gather information and describe work. Individual profiles are generated to reflect the work of individuals, and the aggregate data provides the basis for other analysis.


  • Clifford, James P., "Job Analysis: Why Do It, and How Should It Be Done?" Public Personnel Management, Vol. 23 No. 2 (Summer, 1994).
  • Ghorpade, Jai and Thomas J. Atchison. "The Concept of Job Analysis: A Review and Some Suggestions." Public Personnel Management Journal.
  • McCormick, Ernest J. Job Analysis: Methods and Applications, AMACOM, 1979.
  • Milkovich, George T. and Jerry M. Newman. Compensation. Business Publications, Inc., 1984