Get awesome marketing content related to Hiring & L&D in your inbox each week

Stay up-to-date with the latest marketing, sales, and service tips and news
Unlocking the potential of job architecture

Learning and Development | 6 Min Read

Unlocking the potential of job architecture


Job architecture streamlines moving parts of the organization, including the business units, functions, job titles, etc., and serves as a blueprint of how everything interacts with each other.

Job architecture is akin to the building blocks of an organization. It provides a framework that defines and aligns jobs in the organization based on the type of work each job entails. It provides the mechanism that an organization requires to consolidate job titles into a consistent format, providing transparency on career levels within the organization.


Image 1


Elements of organizational structure and job architecture

Job functions:

Key groupings that align with professional domains or areas of expertise. These functions offer a structured way to categorize jobs based on specialized fields, generally encompassing areas like finance, accounting, engineering, operations, procurement, etc., and provide clarity on career trajectories and the skills required within the sectors.


Job families:

Groupings of related roles within particular functions where the core purpose is the same, but the level of responsibility, skill, and remuneration vary. Every job family is a subset of a broader function and delineates job roles based on their similarity and alignment.


Job levels:

These refer to hierarchical categories that denote the stature of a job position, such as senior-level, mid-tier, or entry-level. These classifications help clarify the trajectory of one’s career, offering a clear perspective on the growth opportunities available within and between job families.


Job roles:

Also known as titling conventions, these refer to the generalized portrayals of the tasks and duties that are linked with a particular job position, often characterized by easily recognized titles like director, manager, or executive. These titling conventions make it easy to communicate about roles and responsibilities, ensuring a common understanding of a job’s scope based on the title.


Job descriptions:

These refer to comprehensive accounts of what a particular job role entails, including information about its place within an organizational hierarchy. They serve as the foundation for several HR processes, including recruitment and performance evaluation.



These refer to the blend of knowledge, aptitude, and behavioral traits that define successful job performance. Competencies provide the framework required by organizations for guiding HR processes like recruitment, training, career development strategies, etc.


Career ladders:

These include illustrative charts for mapping potential career advancement paths either within a function or across various functions. These provide employees with a clear understanding of the career trajectories that are possible for them.


Benefits of job architecture

  • It provides a basic foundation for pay and reward. Once the job functions and families have been categorized into a proper organizational structure, job-leveling processes can be used to understand the value of the job in the organization. It can also help with external salary benchmarking to ensure competitiveness in the market.
  • It helps in enabling and managing pay equity. The elements of organizational structure and job architecture can help organizations consider and justify the importance and impact that particular job roles have on an organization. A proper job architecture helps make pay equity analysis easier, as it becomes more convenient to look across organizations to compare different roles and evaluate if there are any disparities in pay.
  • It helps maximize HR technology investments and optimize HR processes. One of the most basic components behind an effective HR technology stack implementation is having a comprehensive job architecture in place.
  • Optimization of learning and development strategies, succession planning, etc. A proper job architecture framework allows organizations to identify career pathways and communicate the same to employees with ease.

According to the Global Talent Trends Report by LinkedIn, an active internal career management program can help improve a company’s retention rates by 4% [Source]

  • Better workforce planning and analytics. Standardizing job titles across organizations using proper job architecture can help ensure consistency across workforce data and make sure that the data is comparable across various departments and functions. This also makes it easier to analyze workforce data and identify trends and patterns.


Six tips to effectively apply job architecture for employee development 

Tip 1: Start small

It may not always be feasible to get the entire organization on board with role-based learning programs and job architectures all at once. That is why it is important to first start with smaller subgroups. Starting small has a number of advantages, such as fewer resources required, fewer hurdles to overcome, and so on. Small groups can also be used as proof of concept required before expanding the implementation of role-based learning across the organization.


Tip 2: Get support

It is also important to get executive support to champion the cause. The main goal is to be able to scale job architecture and role-based learning programs across the entire organization, and that is something that will require support from the leadership.


Tip 3: Ensure the reliability of job architecture

It is important that the job architecture is reliable before moving on to role-based learning programs. Job architectures are not always as thorough as they could be, and an incomplete job architecture will not prove to be useful for actual workforce development as it will lack the information required to map learning paths for employees. That is why it is crucial to ensure that the job architecture is accurate and robust before building role-based learning programs based on it.

The features a job architecture must include are:

  • Capturing every job in a team, unit, or department.
  • Each job should have a clear title.
  • Every job should be entered into the architecture, capturing the most critical skills and responsibilities required for the role.
  • Job descriptions should be consistent across teams, units, and departments.
  • Logical grouping of jobs based on shared functions, responsibilities, skill sets, or other criteria.

With a strong, well-defined job architecture, role-based learning programs can be crafted with multiple approaches, like building training paths that help employees:

  • Attain specific roles
  • Improve in their current job roles


Tip 4: Build role-based learning paths around formal job descriptions

In cases where employee responsibilities drift from formal job descriptions over time, it can lead to issues in creating role-based learning paths for employees. Job architectures should result in clear job descriptions with clear skills specified for each job role. Instead of building role-based learning around ad-hoc and informal responsibilities employees may have picked up during the years, the programs should be based on these job descriptions.


Tip 5: Maintain consistency across job descriptions

Job architecture acts as a universal, scalable framework, and the job descriptions it produces should be used and understood across the entire organization. Role standardization is crucial for proper workforce planning and development.


Tip 6: Embrace the spectrum of job architecture use cases

  • Coaching: Job architectures can help identify skills that need to be cultivated for preparing high performers for leadership roles.
  • Performance management: Performance management conversations can be made less emotionally charged, where employees may perceive ‘opportunities for improvement’ as personal flaws. This can be achieved by grounding the discussion in job architecture. The job architecture can be used as an objective measure of the skills that have been mastered and the skills that can be worked upon further.
  • Career path mapping and internal mobility: Proper job architectures offer employees a clear map for how they can grow in their careers. This allows them to take charge of their own career mobility as they can better understand how they can leverage their existing skills to move on to newer roles.
  • Better employee retention: Top performers in organizations may often feel as though they have peaked in their roles, which can lead to them feeling disengaged and looking for new jobs. Job architectures can be used to help these employees identify new opportunities within the organization so they don’t feel the need to leave the company to find their next opportunity.


Image 2



Building and maintaining an accurate, agile organizational structure and job architecture is crucial for organizations moving towards skill-based transformation. An organizational structure that is based on job architecture can bring whole new levels of transparency and give direction to an organization’s workforce planning efforts. Concrete definitions of roles and highlighting how different roles relate to each other under a proper job architecture make it easy for an organization to strategically develop its employees and cover the most pressing skills gaps in the organization. Role-based learning offers meaningful development opportunities aligned with employees’ career goals, which inspires them to develop their skills.

With Mercer | Mettl’s suite of assessments and solutions, organizations can elevate their workforce by making it easier for learners to discover transformative learning experiences.



1. What do you mean by job architecture?

2. What is the impact of job architecture?

3. What is the difference between job architecture and organizational structure?

Originally published February 9 2024, Updated February 9 2024

Written by

Vaishali has been working as a content creator at Mercer | Mettl since 2022. Her deep understanding and hands-on experience in curating content for education and B2B companies help her find innovative solutions for key business content requirements. She uses her expertise, creative writing style, and industry knowledge to improve brand communications.

About This Topic

Assessment Center Development Center, commonly known as ACDC, is a comprehensive tool used by organizations to evaluate prospective or current employees for workforce management and planning. ACDCs can be implemented virtually, physically, or in a blended format, using a suite of assessment tools.

Related Products

Mercer | Mettl's VADC: The Future of ACDCs

Automate Your L&D Programs With Virtual And Blended Assessment Center Development Centers

Know More

HiPo Identification for Enhanced Business Outcomes

Measure the potential of your talent and make objective organizational decisions

Know More

Mercer | Mettl's Training Needs Assessment

Identify who, what, and how to train based on holistic and validated training needs assessments

Know More

Related posts

Would you like to comment?


Please write a comment before submitting


Thanks for submitting the comment. We’ll post the comment once its verified.

Get awesome marketing content related to Hiring & L&D in your inbox each week

Stay up-to-date with the latest marketing, sales, and service tips and news