What Is a Job Band and How You Can Use It

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated August 18, 2022 | Published September 29, 2021

Updated August 18, 2022

Published September 29, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

When you start work at a company, you may notice that employees tend to advance through several stages of employment, which can determine the size of their salaries and other benefits. A job band or pay band can help companies track the different compensation ranges for certain positions. Job bands simplify the administrative process of managing employees in an organization.

Understanding "what is a job band?" can help you establish your position at your company and plan for career advancement. In this article, we discuss what job bands are, outline the types of job bands, provide examples of typical job bands and highlight how to advance to a higher job band.

What is a job band?

A job band is a group of employees with similar duties, skills and qualifications that receive comparable salaries and employment benefits. Job banding is an administrative process that involves grouping employees based on professional similarities to ease paying salaries, determining promotions and other human resource processes. While banding varies according to the organization, it follows some general rules. First, there are usually clear criteria for moving to a higher job band. Additionally, managerial staff are usually two or three levels above their direct subordinates. Lastly, there are straightforward differences between each job band.

Related: What Are Salary Pay Scales (With Different Structures)

Organizations use job bands for many reasons. It's an effective way to fight pay bias in the workplace. If employees within a job band have a specific salary range, then it's less likely that they experience unequal pay. This is particularly helpful for protecting vulnerable groups. Additionally, job bands promote efficiency among employees. Due to the clear organizational structure and criteria for advancement, employees can set career goals and work towards them. The euphoria of promotion also improves morale and encourages diligence. Lastly, it eases other administrative processes like information dissemination and company budgeting.

Related: Guide to Promotion Planning (With Definition and Steps)

Types of job bands

Depending on its preferences and nature of business, there are different categories of job bands an organization can adopt. Here is an overview of the types of job bands:

Narrow job bands

Narrow job bands have a single hierarchy within the organization's structure. This type of job band usually has many grades that aren't far apart from each other. With narrow job bands, there's barely any mobility within a job grade. Employees get more frequent, small promotions with little differences between them. This type of job band is more traditional and is common in many organizations. Narrow job bands allow a clear distinction in hierarchy and seniority, even among members of the same team. Also, promoting employers within a narrow band is usually straightforward.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About the Hierarchy of a Company

Organizations using narrow job bands usually use criteria like the amount of time the employee has worked with the organization or some other time-based metric like reaching a career stage. While some individuals still advance faster than others, this model mostly respects seniority. The narrow band is ideal for some organizations, but it has some flaws. First, it can shift attention from performance to hierarchy and promotions. This can be great for traditional societies but less stimulating for young employees. Second, it can also cause rifts between employees due to status differentiation among themselves.

Broad job bands

A broad job band involves fewer grades or bands and more mobility within a job grade. Organizations that use broad job bands have many levels within a job grade that employees can get to before advancing to a higher job grade. This type of job band emphasizes an employee's performance and requires an effective system of monitoring performance. Broad job bands are ideal for organizations with flexible working patterns like commission or shift-based roles. In addition, it makes it much easier for the HR department to handle promotions.

The broad job band system encourages employee efficiency. It also demands that management develop more effective ways of monitoring employee performance. This usually leads to more structure in an organization, which can benefit its overall productivity. Still, this model can be upsetting, especially in more traditional organizations. Younger and more vibrant employees constantly getting promoted over senior ones can cause a drop in morale and hinder office interactions. A broad job band can also cause hierarchical issues if subordinate employees eventually attain the same level as their manager or supervisor.

Related: What Are Pay Bands? (With Benefits and How to Create Them)

Combined job bands

This model combines the features of the broad and narrow bands. Organizations usually apply the narrow band structure for low-level positions and maintain the broad hierarchy for higher managerial roles. This makes sense as there's more room for advancement at lower levels. The combined model shares the advantages of the broad and narrow bands at the levels where it applies them. A major drawback of this model is that it requires a sophisticated administrative structure to work, which some organizations don't have.

Examples of common job bands

Here are some common grades organizations use to separate their workers:

Management band

This category refers to high-level employees in managerial or supervisory positions. This includes executives, management staff and in some instances, heads of departments. In some organizations, it can also include project managers. The primary duty of employees in this category is directing and supervising the activities of other employees. They also determine the organization's goals and overall strategy.

Related: How To Improve Your Management Skills

Professional band

These are high-level employees in an organization offering professional or technical expertise. Employees in this position usually require rigorous formal training in their fields, often involving advanced degrees. Examples of such employees are lawyers, accountants, and marketing associates. Employees in this band concern themselves with the implementation of complex organizational processes. They also play advisory roles and provide management staff with insights to inform their decisions.

Related: What Are Expertise Levels? (Plus How to Become an Expert)

Business band

Employees in this band usually provide administrative and clerical support to ease office processes. Their role is to improve the flow of business by handling routine tasks. In addition, they typically act as a bridge between various departments and between clients and the organization. Employees in this role include receptionists, paralegals, and office assistants. These roles usually require technical skills and some years of experience.

Technical band

Employees within this band perform specialized technical tasks for the organization. Their roles usually involve specialized skill training or technical education. Examples of roles within this band include data analysts, web designers, business analysts, and security consultants. In addition, their duties involve completing technical or analytical tasks to improve business processes.

Operational band

These employees perform routine operational and technical tasks that keep the business running. They are responsible for the direct implementation of company policies. Various employees within this band include factory workers, janitorial staff, security staff, customer service representatives, and delivery drivers. Some roles within this band can require special training.

How to advance to a higher job band

If you're eager about advancing to a higher job band, here are some steps you can consider:

1. Study the organization's structure

If you want to advance through the hierarchy, it's essential you know how it works. Start by studying the number of levels and deciding on a goal for yourself. Next, research the criteria for advancing to another level. This can be through performance, time spent in the firm, or a combination. Most organizations include this information in their employee manual, but you can talk to your human resources manager to be sure. Once you know how the promotions work, you're ready to plan career advancement.

2. Improve your qualifications

Your level of qualifications has a significant impact on your job band and career advancement. For example, many executive roles require an advanced degree or many years of experience. Similarly, some positions require special training or skills. Once you know the job grade you're aiming for, you can easily plan to improve your qualifications to secure your desired role. You can take advantage of online training platforms to learn specific skills. Also, pay attention to professional development opportunities in the organization.

Related: Best Business Certifications To Advance Your Career

3. Build a strong office network

Your office network plays a part in determining how fast your career advances. While many organizations promote based on performances, they also consider the opinions of your colleagues and supervisors. This is particularly true for managerial or supervisory roles. By building a good network, you ensure that people can speak positively of you. In addition, you can build a network by being friendly and appropriate with all your colleagues. When you can spare time, be willing to assist others. Also, try not to miss any office events.

Related: Guidelines on How To Network

4. Perform tasks diligently

Your performance has the most significant impact on your career progression. Often, an employer only promotes a worker who's reliable or efficient. To improve your chances of securing a promotion, ensure you're a diligent worker. Always try to arrive at work early and turn in tasks punctually.

5. Develop relevant soft skills

There are soft skills that make all employees more efficient in the workplace. Some include effective communication, conflict management, teamwork, and leadership skills. Developing these skills can help you build positive relationships with your colleagues. They also make you more respectable. You can focus on developing new skills and strengthening those you already possess to improve your chances of securing a promotion.

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