What is job profiling and is it still relevant?

What is job profiling and is it still relevant?
Laurika Fourie, General Manager: Job Evaluation and Systems at 21st Century

Know your profile – Why job profiling is at the heart of human capital

The dictionary definition of job profiling says, “… (it) entails mapping the responsibilities, qualifications, competencies and reporting lines of employees,” according to HRPulse.co.za. Beyond this definition, however, is an ongoing process that sits at the very heart of all Human Capital practices – particularly in an ever-changing world. Remuneration and HR consultancy, 21st Century delves a bit deeper.

What is a job profile?

The COVID pandemic has brought around massive changes in the workplace. So, are current job profiles still relevant? “Why does job profiling exist, and where does it fit in the company structure”, says Laurika Fourie, General Manager: Job Evaluation and Systems at 21st Century. She continues, “Before these important questions are addressed, we need to cover the important foundations of Job profiling.

“A proper Job Profile does not only serve as a guide for incumbent employees to identify with the requirements of the job, it aligns the business goals and strategy within all business units and departments down to the individual job holder. A well-written job profile can help companies attract quality and qualified candidates.

“A Job Profile describes the details of the role and responsibilities of a job, and it has to be driven by business requirements and not written around an individual. A Performance Output Profile includes specific measurements to help determine how well an employee is performing in their job.

“Job profiling has evolved over time and is far more than a list of responsibilities or tasks. It typically includes job title, the main purpose of the job, job grade, OFO (Organisation Framework of Occupations) code, location, reporting structure, qualifications, professional registrations, experience and other minimum requirements, as examples.

“Key result areas, responsibilities and outputs serving as broad success indicators are included, as well as details of job-related competencies, working conditions and job context. The successful drafting and review of job profiles are required for any organisation to operate to its full potential and is dependent on well-executed job design practices.[i]

“A Job Profile must be verified and signed off by supervisors or line managers, again implying integration from a management perspective”.

Laurika continues, “[ii]Unfortunately, the job profiling process doesn’t always integrate quite so seamlessly with the various components of the HR value chain. It is used by many organisations to inform specific processes but consistent integration with other links in the HR process chain is often lacking.

“A great amount of time is often spent on the once-off development and use of job profiles to either advertise a specific vacancy, to evaluate a role or to determine appropriate salary benchmarks. But after that, not much emphasis is placed on the ongoing review and integration of the job profile into the role, to ensure alignment, relevance and accuracy. This is a missed opportunity. Advisably, job profiles should be compiled by skilled people who are formally trained in job profile writing.

Laurika concludes, “Without a comprehensive, up-to-date job profile that describes the job, there’s no path or direction. You need a proper job description to provide direction for the employee”.


[i] Organisation Design for UBER times

[ii] Personnel Psychology


About 21st Century:

21st Century, a level 2 BBBEE company, is one of the largest Remuneration and HR consultancies in Africa, with a team of more than 60 skilled specialists, servicing over 1700 clients – including non-profit organisations, unlisted companies, government, parastatals and over two-thirds of the companies listed on the JSE. 21st Century offers bespoke business and strategy planning services, operating model and organisational design, creative reward practice modelling, change, stakeholder and culture management, training courses and comprehensive human capital and talent plans. These are all underpinned by our analytic and survey capability tailored to the African environment. 21st Century continues to offer solutions via a combination of virtual channels and on-site presence.


In this volatile and uncertain environment, the way of working is changing dramatically. There are new – and often unprecedented – challenges that require businesses to plan rapidly and take decisive and immediate action. 21st Century offers a Resilience Audit assessing businesses during COVID-19 for their sustainability, offering these businesses tailor made solutions and developing new remuneration structures and performance systems for the New World of Work.


21st Century has expanded its services to offer a full turnkey sustainable business and remuneration service. Beyond remuneration and reward consulting, 21st Century offers local analytics for business advantage; remuneration and HR training; change management services; talent and people solutions; and end-to-end organisational design and development.