Acts Online
GT Shield

Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act No. 55 of 1998)

Code of Good Practice

Integration of Employment Equity into Human Resource Policies and Practices

Part A : Commencing Employment

6. Job Analysis and Job Descriptions




6.1.1 A job description outlines the role and duties of the job and consists of two components: a description of the outputs of the job (what the job proposes to do). This description should provide an accurate and current picture of what functions make up a job, and should not include unrelated tasks. This should outline the job's location, purpose, responsibilities, authority levels, supervisory levels and interrelationships between the job and others in the same area; and a description of the inputs of the job (i.e. what the person doing the job is required to do). This description should provide details about the knowledge, experience, qualifications, skills and attributes required to perform the job effectively.


6.1.2 Employers should conduct a job analysis when developing a job description. A job analysis is the process used to examine the content of the job, breaking it down into its specific tasks, functions, processes, operations and elements.




Job descriptions may either advance or undermine employment equity depending on how they are written.


A job description should clearly state the essential or inherent requirements of the job. These are the minimum requirements that an employee needs in order to be able to function effectively in that job. These requirements should not be overstated so as to present arbitrary or discriminatory barriers to designated groups. However, in the interests of promoting the appointment of employees who may not meet all the essential or inherent job requirements, an employer may decide that an employee who has, for instance, six out of the ten threshold or essential requirements, will be considered to be suitably qualified, subject to obtaining the outstanding requirements within a specified time.




6.3.1 In order to ensure that job descriptions refer only to the essential or inherent job requirements, they should comply with the following criteria: Each task or duty in the job description is essential to be able to perform the job and is not overstated; The job description is free of jargon and is written clearly; The competency specification includes only criteria essential to perform the duties. This should be objective and avoid subjective elements that can be interpreted differently; Experience requirements that are not essential, related or arbitrary to the job should be excluded; and Criteria do not disadvantage employees from designated groups.


6.3.2 An employer may also use job descriptions to promote affirmative action, for instance, by incorporating potential as a requirement and making reference to development and training to acquire additional skills and competencies.


6.3.3 A job description should be capable of flexible interpretation in the interest of promoting affirmative action. In this regard, an employer may list all the minimum or essential requirements of the job.




6.4.1 Recruitment and selection - Job descriptions that are flexible may aid the recruitment of employees from designated groups in order to create equitable representation. Rigid job descriptions may operate as a barrier to attracting individuals from designated groups with potential.


6.4.2 Performance management - Specificity of job descriptions contributes to setting clear performance objectives in an employee's career development plan. This may avoid perceptions of unfair or discriminatory treatment in performance.


6.4.3 Skills development - A clear job description enables the identification of skills and competency gaps. These gaps could be closed through appropriate interventions like training and development.