Frequently Asked Questions

These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) will address inquiries that you may have about the introduction of the Career Path Program. Additional FAQs may be added in the future based on feedback received.

Information about the project

Manager Questions

Employee Questions

Details about the classification structure

Information about the project

What are the key outcomes of this structure?

  • Employees will have a clearer understanding of how to develop a career path at GW.
  • A framework will be established for managers to coach and guide employees through various career opportunities at GW.
  • The classification administration processes at the university will be simplified.

When will I be notified of my classification?

The Career Path program is being implemented in spring of 2016, with employees receiving notifications of their new classifications beginning in February. Employees and supervisors can contact their HR representative for additional information on classifications.

Who created this new structure?

After researching best practices at other institutions of higher education, the new structure was developed by a leadership advisory council, the Classification Advisory Committee and Human Resources, with input from key stakeholders throughout the university. This new structure is in line with best practices in the industry related to job classifications.

Manager Questions

Where can I learn more about the classification structure?

Please be sure to read all of the frequently asked questions on this page, as many potential questions from your employees can be answered using the information provided here. 

How will I find out my staff's classification assignments?

You are encouraged to meet with your HR representative as soon as possible (or your division/school's HR liaison, if there is not a dedicated HR representative). Your HR representative will provide the job classification data for each position that has a formal reporting relationship to you.

I've identified a potential error in one of my subordinates is classification and I want to fix it before they are notified of their classification. How do I submit this?

If you find an error with a classification -- in terms of the wrong job family, subfamily or career stream -- we want to know. Please submit your feedback via the Manager Feedback Form. Once this is submitted, HR will review your feedback and provide a communication back to you as to whether the classification was updated or corrected within several weeks.

If you have feedback on the level of a classification, we want that feedback too. Level feedback requires significant information, so a request to change a position's classification level should be initiated and reviewed by your HR representative. Please contact your HR representative with questions related to job level.

What action is required of me right now?

  • Familiarize yourself with the structure and resources available.
  • Meet with your HR representative to review the classifications for each position that reports to you.
  • Proactively reach out to your HR representative if you have questions about any of your staff's classifications.

Where can I go for more information?
For additional support, information or questions, please contact your HR representative for assistance, submit a question via this website or send an email to the Career Path Program at

My employee has approached me because they think there may an error in their classification. What should I do next?

If an employee identifies a potential error in their job classification, they are encouraged to meet with their supervisor first. Listen closely to their concerns. It will be up to you to make a determination as to whether or not the job classification concern is valid. If you do not think there is an error, relay your justification to the employee (if you need help, please contact your HR representative for guidance). If you think there could be an error, schedule a meeting with your HR representative to discuss your concern. The HR representative will guide the discussion and determine appropriate next steps.

Employee Questions

How are job classifications be determined?

Classifications are assigned by the Human Resources department, in close collaboration with the division/school's HR representative, managers and leadership, based on the duties and responsibilities of the job performed. You can view a video that gives an overview of how jobs are determined.

Are faculty and student positions included in the classification structure?

No. The classification review focuses on staff and research staff positions.

Will my pay be affected by the implementation of this structure in 2016?

Employee base pay will neither increase or decrease at the time the revised classification system is implemented. Going forward, the refined framework provides managers market-based pay information and tools to make well-informed future pay decisions in accordance with our new structure.

Will my job grade change as a result of this new structure?

All employees will receive a new classification, and the previous 24-grade system has been retired. The new structure is unrelated to the old structure. New classifications are based on duties, responsibilities, qualifications and other job factors.

How can I obtain a copy of my position description?

Descriptions can be requested through your supervisor or HR representative.

Will this project involve changes to job titles?

HR will not require titling changes at the time the revised classification system is implemented. Titling guidelines are available to managers and were created to provide guidance as to what titles are appropriate for a position's level and career stream. These guidelines provide divisions and schools titling options that are appropriate for their area(s). These titling guidelines will be enforced by HR when a position is posted, or when an employee moves into a different position.

What is the difference between classification title and job title?

Your classification title is the title attributed to all jobs that share the same job family, subfamily, career stream and level. Essentially, it is the group title for all jobs that are substantially similar, for example, "Customer Service Associate III" or "Senior Advisor."

A job title is the public title most often used in email, on business cards, etc, for example, "Executive Aide" or "Senior Programming Analyst."

I supervise one person. Why isn’t my position in the management stream?

In order for a position to be classified into the management stream, the primary function of the job must be managing others.  We have defined this more specifically to mean that those in the management stream must supervise two or more individuals and manage a distinct department.

I think there might be an error with my job classification. What should I do?

We encourage all employees to become familiar with this new structure, and make sure all of the new concepts of the structure are understood before initiating a request for a re-review of a job classification. For example, a classification title is not the same as a job title in some cases. Another example could be that, even though an employee may supervise one employee, they may not be in the management stream.

Employees can learn more about their job classification and how it relates to other jobs by exploring the classification structure. If you've taken time to become familiar with the new structure, and still feel that there may be an error, please reach out to your supervisor and be prepared to describe the classification error with relevant supporting facts or information. Your supervisor will then meet with Human Resources to discuss next steps.

Details about the classification structure

How can I learn more about the new framework?

You can view a video that gives an overview of the new framework.

What is a career stream?

The university's new classification structure is centered around four career streams: 

  1. Service and Support: Staff whose primary duties are (1) routine, or (2) service-focused or (3) a craft or skilled trade.
  2. Individual Contributor: Non-supervisory staff with learned knowledge where discretion and independent judgment are critical job functions.
  3. Management: Typically includes managers and supervisors in charge of tactical and operational teams. Must manage two or more individuals and be responsible for managing a department/function.
  4. Executive: Typically includes top university executives and heads of key job and subfamilies, and has enterprise-wide scope.

It is possible to move from one stream to another, if appropriate, based on job responsibilities. Career streams, in conjunction with identified job families, will allow employees to identify ways they can move through the structure in the future.

Am I able to change career streams?

Yes. The structure will identify the competencies and requirements for each stream and level so that employees can explore new positions should opportunities arise.

Will I have to become a manager to get to the top of my career stream?

Not always. In many streams, there are individual contributor levels that parallel management to the top of the track.

What is a job family?

A job family is a grouping of roles that have a similar nature of work and utilize a similar skill set, but that require differing levels and specializations of skill, effort or responsibility (e.g. Accountant vs. Payroll Specialist, both in the Finance and Business family). There are 21 families in the new structure.

What are the job families?

  1. Academic Affairs
  2. Academic Technology
  3. Administration
  4. Athletics
  5. Communications, Marketing and Media
  6. Compliance
  7. Development & Alumni Relations
  8. Diversity and Inclusion
  9. Enrollment Management
  10. Facilities & Campus Operations
  11. Finance & Business
  12. Museum & Performing Arts
  13. Health Services
  14. Human Resources
  15. Information Technology
  16. Legal
  17. Libraries
  18. Research Administration
  19. Lab & Field Research
  20. Safety & Security
  21. Student Affairs

What is a subfamily?

A subfamily is a more specific specialty within the job family (e.g. Accounting and Payroll are both subfamilies of the Finance & Business job family). You can explore the entire job family and subfamily structure by viewing the Classification Structure.

Can I change job families or subfamilies?

Yes. The structure will identify families and subfamilies, as well as the competencies and requirements of each level, so that employees can explore new positions should opportunities arise.

What if my job responsibilities cross more than one family or subfamily?

If 50% or more of a position's responsibilities are in one functional area, then the position is assigned to the corresponding subfamily. If no functional area represents 50% of the position duties, then a subfamily is selected based on which functional duties would be emphasized most when recruiting for the position.

What is a level?

Levels indicate the general mastery required to fill positions at that level. Multiple jobs in the same career stream can inhabit the same level. There may not be an actual position at every level within the career stream.

What if I have another question that hasn't been answered?

There are lots of resources if you have additional questions. Your manager is a good place to start. You can also reach out to your HR representative, submit a question online or email the Career Path Program at