What is a Job Family? A Comprehensive Guide for HR Professionals

by | Published on Aug 16, 2023 | Academy

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What is a Job Family

In the ever-evolving landscape of today’s workplace, HR professionals are tasked with the crucial role of organizing and defining various positions within an organization. One of the key tools at their disposal is the concept of a job family. But what is a job family, exactly? This guide aims to demystify job families, breaking down their significance, structure, and implementation for Human Resources professionals.

What is a Job Family?

A job family is a grouping of jobs that involve similar types of work and require similar skills, knowledge, and/or expertise. Job families are an integral part of a job family framework, which is a structured way of organizing jobs into logical groups. This job framework allows for streamlined career progression, effective training programs, and comprehensive compensation planning.

Example: The student services job family at a university might include roles such as student advisor, career counselor, and residence hall manager.

The Significance of Job Families

Job families play a vital role in simplifying the HR processes, including recruitment, training, and career development. They provide a structured way of looking at various job functions within an organization and help to:

  1. Standardize position descriptions and titles
  2. Simplify compensation and benefits planning
  3. Clarify career paths and advancement opportunities
  4. Promote equitable labor relations and ensuring compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Job Families: More Than Grouping Similar Jobs

Job Family Chart Example

Job families are more than just grouping similar types of jobs. They are the backbone of a robust job family framework, a tool that HR professionals use to organize multiple job families and create a clear and efficient career progression path for employees. This framework aids in project management, support services, and facilities operations.

How to Determine Job Families

Determining job families involves a systematic approach. The process generally includes:

  1. Analysis of Jobs: Reviewing all positions in the organization, analyzing their responsibilities, required skills, and qualifications.
  2. Grouping of Similar Roles: Classifying jobs with similar functions, responsibilities, and skills into a single job family.
  3. Defining the Job Family: Clearly articulating the nature, scope, and requirements of each job family.

Example: Finance can be a job family with sub-families like accounting, auditing, and budget analysis.

The Difference Between Job and Job Family

A job is a specific position of employment in an organization or company where someone is hired to perform certain duties. A job family, on the other hand, is a broader category that encompasses various jobs that are similar in character and objectives. For example, an accountant is a job, while finance could be a job family.

Understanding Job Functions Within a Job Family

Best practices

Job functions refer to the specific responsibilities and tasks associated with a particular role within an organization. Each job within a job family will have its own set of functions that differentiate it from other jobs in the same family.

For example, within the finance job family, the job function of an accountant might include preparing financial reports, analyzing budgets, and managing ledgers, while a financial analyst might focus on assessing investment opportunities and advising on financial planning.

Understanding these functions is critical for HR professionals—it forms the basis for job descriptions, helps in aligning roles with the appropriate compensation and benefits packages, and plays a key role in training and development initiatives.

Moreover, clearly defined job functions ensure that employees understand their responsibilities, which in turn aids in performance management and the setting of meaningful, achievable goals.

Job Families in the Context of Workday

Workday, a popular HR management software, allows organizations to create and manage job families easily. For instance, within Workday, the Information Technology job family might include positions such as system analyst, network engineer, and IT support specialist.

The Role of Job Families in University Operations

In a university setting, job families are essential for organizing a wide range of job functions that support the university’s mission and the university students. From faculty and student services to facilities and operations, job families help delineate clear paths for career progression for university employees.

The Expanding Nature of Job Families

As industries evolve, so too do job families. They are not static and must be revisited regularly to ensure they align with the current needs and structure of the organization. This adaptive nature is fundamental in health education, information technology, and various services related to student life and university operations.

Ensuring Compliance and Regulations

Job families also play a significant role in ensuring compliance with various laws and regulations that affect employees and their positions. They help to define the scope and responsibilities of jobs, thereby assisting in the planning and implementation of relevant training programs.


For HR professionals, understanding and effectively utilizing job families is not just a best practice—it’s a fundamental component of modern human resource management. They provide clarity, streamline HR operations, clear career opportunities, and contribute to the overall health and effectiveness of an organization.

So the next time you hear the term “job family,” you’ll know it’s much more than just HR jargon—it’s a powerful tool for organizational success.