How is the pay grade for a job determined?
The Office of Personnel Management sets position classification standards for determining the series and grade and, consequently, the basic pay for General Schedule positions. Position classification standards are developed for broad occupational groupings. These standards are called “job family standards.” Some of them cut across occupational fields and provide guides for the classification of categories of work, such as that performed by supervisors or research scientists.

Job grading standards, also developed by OPM, are the basis for grading trade and labor positions under the federal wage system. Salary levels for the various grades are determined for each local wage area by a survey of private-sector rates in that area. Job grading standards are developed for separate occupations, such as aircraft mechanic, machinist, and electrician, and for jobs that cross occupational lines, such as trades helper and supervisor.

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