Career Path Tools and Resources
Information about Career Path
- How are job classifications determined?
- Are faculty and student positions included in the classification structure?
- How can I obtain a copy of my position description?
- What is the difference between classification title and job title?
- I supervise one person. Why isn’t my position in the management stream?
- I think there might be an error with my job classification. What should I do?
Details about the classification structure
- What is a career stream?
- Am I able to change career streams?
- Will I have to become a manager to get to the top of my career stream?
- What is a job family?
- What are the job families?
- What is a subfamily?
- Can I change job families or subfamilies?
- What if my job responsibilities cross more than one family or subfamily?
- What is a level?
- What if I have another question that hasn't been answered?
Information about the project
What are the key goals of this structure?
- Employees will have a clearer understanding of how to develop a career path at GW.
- Managers will have a framework to coach and guide employees through various career opportunities at GW.
- The classification administration processes at the university will be simplified.
How was this structure developed?
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 Resource Management and Development, with input from key stakeholders throughout the university. This new structure is in line with best practices in the industry related to job classifications.
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 can be answered using the information provided here.
Where can I go for more information?
For additional support, information or questions, please contact your HR representative for assistance or send an email to the Career Path Program at [email protected].
How are job classifications determined?
Classifications are assigned by Human Resource Management and Development, in close collaboration with the division/school's HR representative, managers and leadership, based on the duties and responsibilities of the job performed.
Are faculty and student positions included in the classification structure?
No. The classification structure focuses on regular staff and research positions.
How can I obtain a copy of my position description?
Position descriptions can be requested through your supervisor or HR representative.
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 "Admissions Officer I."
A job title is the public title most often used in email, on business cards, etc, for example, "Senior Administrative Assistant" or "Systems Administrator."
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 as a primary focus of the role, 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 the Career Path, and make sure all of the 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 manager and be prepared to describe the classification error with relevant supporting facts or information. Your manager will then meet with Human Resource Management and Development 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.
The university's classification structure is centered around four career streams:
- Service and Support: Staff whose primary duties are (1) routine, and/or (2) service-focused or (3) a craft and/or skilled trade.
- Individual Contributor: Non-supervisory staff with learned knowledge where discretion and independent judgment are critical job functions.
- 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.
- 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.
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. Budget Analyst, both in the Finance and Business family). There are 20 families in the structure.
- Academic Affairs
- Academic Technology
- Communications and Marketing
- Development and Alumni Relations
- Diversity and Inclusion
- Enrollment Services
- Finance and Business
- Health Services
- Human Resources
- GW IT
- Museum and Performing Arts
- Research Administration
- Research and Labs
- Safety and Facilities
- Student Affairs
A subfamily is a more specific specialty within the job family (e.g. Accounting and Budget are both subfamilies of the Finance and Business job family). You can explore the entire job family and subfamily structure by viewing the Career Path 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.
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 or email the Career Path Program at [email protected].
This glossary will provide information and definitions behind the technical terminology related to the university’s job classification structure. If you have any additional questions about a term used on this website, please contact [email protected].
The system that organizes and groups together all jobs at the university based on the type of work and level of work performed. All jobs within the structure have four defined elements; job family, subfamily, career stream, and level. Jobs are grouped based on the type of work performed (job family and subfamily), and then further organized by level of work performed (career stream and level).
This is the formal group title for all jobs in a job classification based on their substantially similar type and level of work.
A series of defined levels within a job family where the nature of the work is traditionally similar (e.g., accounting, facilities management) and the levels represent the organization’s requirements for increased skill, knowledge and responsibility as the employee moves through a career.
Career Path Structure
The university’s classification structure, which helps employees to identify potential job opportunities that are within an their interests and skillsets.
The four broad roles within the organization, Executive, Manager, Individual Contributor, or Service & Support that are based on the level within the organization, the focus of the role, and type of tasks typical to those jobs.
Basic units of knowledge, skills and abilities employees must acquire or demonstrate in order to successfully perform work.
A job that encompasses multi-functional responsibility for a combination of different areas that are all important and necessary for the role (i.e., incumbent wears multiple hats) and typically represents two or more separate jobs (e.g., financial analyst and trainer).
The total collection of tasks, duties and responsibilities assigned to one or more individuals whose work has the same nature and level of work.
Process of identifying the roles, responsibilities, competencies and requirements to successfully perform a job.
A formal grouping of jobs based on a substantially similar type and level of work.
This is the public title most often used in email, on business cards, etc.
Process for assigning a job classification, which then assigns job family, sub-family, career stream and level for a job.
A grouping of jobs based on similarity of responsibilities.
A more distinct grouping of jobs based on similarity of responsibilities and specialties.
The market in which workers compete for jobs and employers compete for workers.
A process conducted by university Compensation Staff to analyze job trends and salary levels/rates paid in the market. Market data reflects the geographic regions and the types of industries from which we recruit. These may include for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, local and national organizations, government and higher education institutions as well as general industry firms. Results of the market analysis process are used to make recommendations for pay ranges for job classifications.
Rate of pay for each job based on the aggregate, representative market data from salary surveys.
A group of specific duties, tasks and responsibilities assigned to one employee.
A detailed summary of the duties attributed to a job classification.
Reflects the context within which the job operates and the nature of the work performed.
A specific component in a salary structure that groups jobs for pay policy application. All jobs in a salary grade have the same salary range: minimum, midpoint and maximum.
The range of salaries, from minimum to maximum, that is assigned to a group of jobs that have similar pay rates in the market.
The array and hierarchy of salary grades and the associated pay ranges established for different jobs within an organization.
Each job at the university occupies a specific level in one of the career streams. Levels indicate the general mastery required to fill positions at that level.
Multiple jobs in the same career stream can occupy the same level. These level descriptions are the general guidelines used for each position and should be considered as an informational resource to help you understand current positions and how career paths typically progress.
Stream Stream Description Executive This career stream typically includes top university executives and heads of key job families who are responsible for providing strategic vision and direction to department(s), school or division. An executive is defined as a senior administrator responsible for a major division or department and who has responsibility for a discrete function or sub-function involving a high degree of complexity, enterprise-wide risk, and financial responsibility. Typically designated as a “Head of Function,” “Chief Function Officer,” or its equivalent. Executives typically report to a higher-level executive within the career stream. The most important factor is that the scope of the job must be enterprise-wide, i.e., the reach of the position must span across the university. Executive titles include Vice President, Dean or Provost and jobs carrying a bona fide variation of an executive title (for example, Assistant Vice President, Associate Dean or Associate Provost). The entry job title used for this stream is Executive Director, which is typically responsible for managing an entire subfamily. Generally, executives are responsible for establishing short- and long-term strategies and budget approval and accountability for assigned areas. Executives frequently encounter complex, multi-dimensional problems and issues where information or precedents are typically difficult to obtain and frequently must draw from professional experience or knowledge of best practices in order to solve problems. Executives typically have broad control over hiring, firing, promotion and reward authority for assigned staff or work teams. Level Level Description Level 4
- Single incumbent position, typically reporting to the President
- Supervises the management, administration, and operation of key functions (such as Academic Affairs, Finance & Administration, Development, etc.)
- Often exercises substantial influence over the affairs of GW
- Ultimate responsibility for implementing decisions of the Board of Trustees
- Generally responsible for multiple job families
- Requires ongoing collaboration and partnership with the Board of Trustees to direct the operations and long-term strategies of the institution
- Single incumbent position, typically reports to a Level 4 Executive
- Responsible for providing executive leadership to critical areas or functions of GW
- Requires interaction with the Board of Trustees in respect to matters relevant to the role
- Generally responsible for at least one major job family
- May also be a disqualified person
- Single incumbent position, typically reports to a Level 3 Executive
- Responsible for directing and managing (1) a large-sized department or business unit, or (2) multiple small to mid-sized departments, categorized as a mission essential, discrete business functions within GW
- Leads the strategic and operational direction of the departments/large unit Informs the University's long-term strategic vision for the unit
- Generally responsible for (1) more than one subfamily or (2) a large subfamily
- Single incumbent position; typically reports to a higher level Executive
- Responsible for strategic and operational direction and management of a small to mid-sized department or business unit categorized as a mission essential, discrete business function within GW
- Accountable for managing and communicating long-term direction and achieving broad strategies within area that link directly to institutional goals
- Generally responsible for one subfamily
Stream Stream Description Management This career stream typically includes supervisory and management staff responsible for focusing on tactical or operational activities within a specified area. A manager is defined as an administrator responsible for accomplishing the department objectives and operations of at least one work unit, which includes managing staff and short- and mid-term planning of department activities. Employees in this career stream take corrective action as necessary to ensure departmental goals are accomplished by established deadlines. The most important factors are (1) clear responsibility for managing a department / function and (2) formal supervision of at least two full-time staff (or equivalent). Managing performance of staff requires writing and delivering performance evaluations and monitoring production and overall work quality. The entry job title used for this stream is Supervisor. Generally, managers are responsible for the daily operations and work quality for assigned areas, and may have control or input over hiring, firing, promotion and reward authority for assigned staff or work teams. Level Level Description Level 4
- Single incumbent classification with key responsibility over a job-family
- Typically reports to a Level 1 or Level 2 Executive
- Responsible for planning and overseeing diverse activities within a large, complex department or functional area of the institution
- Leads a team of Level 2 or 3 Managers, and sets functional strategies and objectives focusing on mid-term operational plans (1-2 years) that align with the overall GW strategy
- Typically has budget and final authority over hiring, firing, promotion and reward authority within own area
- Typically reports to a Level 4 Manager or Level 1 Executive
- Responsible for managing all of a single department or part of a large/complex department consisting of Level 2 Managers or senior IC staff who exercise discretion and independent judgment
- Contributes to the operational plans of the division, school, or major functional area
- Typically has hiring, firing, promotion and reward authority within own area
- May have responsibility for managing an operational budget
- Working manager
- Typically reports to a Level 3 or Level 4 Manager
- Responsible for managing a single work unit consisting of at least two full-time (or its equivalent) Individual Contributor staff or Level 1 Managers
- Serves as subject matter expert within assigned area of responsibility
- Typically without direct budget authority
- Working supervisor
- Typically reports to an Level 2 or Level 3 Manager
- Leads/supervises at least two full-time (or its equivalent) Support staff in a single work unit who perform the same or very similar work
- Typically without budget or hire/fire authority but may provide input
- Individual Contributor
Stream Stream Description Individual Contributor This career stream typically includes non-supervisory staff responsible for utilizing learned knowledge to provide impactful work output to the organization. An Individual Contributor is defined as an individual responsible for tasks, duties, assignments and projects ranging in complexity and often requiring analysis. Experience and knowledge is brought to the position, with lower-level staff learning additional skills on the job. Individual Contributor staff typically report to employees in the Management career stream, with higher-level incumbent contributors reporting to Executives in an advisory or expert capacity. Individual Contributors are not typically responsible for the formal supervision of staff as their primary duty, but they may lead project teams or provide coaching and delegation of work to other employees. Please note that there may be circumstances where it is appropriate for Individual Contributors to manage staff. Level Level Description Level 5
- Individual contributor and recognized master in professional discipline both within the institution, as well as other institutions; may participate in knowledge or thought leadership groups outside of the organization
- Involves mastery of a specialized discipline and thorough understanding of a number of disciplines
- Establishes strategic and operational plans with short- to mid-term impact on the University (1-2 years); develops and implements new processes and standards to achieve strategies
- Establishes critical strategic/ operational goals and influences decisions made by highest levels of University leadership
- Significant influence regarding policies, practices and procedures within and outside of the department
- Requires significant influence and communication with leadership.
- Typically reports to an Level 3 or 4 Manager
- Individual contributor that is recognized internally, as well as other academic institutions, as an expert in a subject matter or specialized discipline
- Ability to manage and execute highly complex or specialized projects or processes; adapts precedent and may make significant departures from traditional approaches to develop solutions to significantly complex problems
- Works independently, expected to perform work based on objectives
- Significant influence regarding policies, practices and procedures within and outside of the department
- May participate in knowledge or thought leadership groups outside of the organization
- Typically reports to a Level 3 or 4 Manager
- Senior individual contributor who works independently with limited supervision, often coaching, reviewing or delegating work to lower level staff
- Generally, recognized as a subject matter expert within organization within the assigned area
- Manages and executes highly complex or specialized projects or processes
- Problems are often difficult, complex and require sophisticated analysis
- Routinely influences others regarding policies, practices and procedures within the division, department, or school
- Typically reports to a Level 2 or 3 Manager
- Individual contributor who works under limited supervision
- Applies subject matter knowledge; requires capacity to understand specific needs or requirements to apply skills/knowledge
- Makes decisions on low to medium impact issues pertaining to policies governing the assigned area
- May influence others within or outside of immediate work unit through explanation of facts, policies and practices
- Typically reports to a Level 2 or 3 Manager
- Individual contributor representing the most common entry point for this career stream; typically works under direct supervision
- Applies learned knowledge to perform tasks
- Explains facts, policies and practices related to area and exchanges information
- May influence others within own area through explanation of facts, policies and practices
- Service and Support
Stream Stream Description Service & Support This career stream typically includes staff whose primary duties are (1) administrative, or (2) routine, or (3) a craft or skilled trade. Support staff are responsible for providing support and continuity of service to an assigned work unit by providing daily maintenance or assistance to an assigned area, performing specific organizational tasks that are generally routine or where information and precedents are easy to obtain or interpret. Experience and knowledge is usually gained on the job. Support staff typically report to employees in the Management career stream, and do not have supervisory responsibility, but may serve in a lead capacity. The distinguishing factors of this stream are that (1) tasks and problems are usually routine and (2) complex issues are referred to the immediate manager for guidance and resolution. Level Level Description Level 3
- Typically reports to a Level 2 Manager
- Responsible for performing technical or skilled work requiring a broad knowledge base acquired from significant experience or specialist training in particular area
- Problems are typically not routine and require analysis and/or drawing on past experience to understand and solve
- Provides assistance and coaching to other Support staff; may supervise and oversee the work of wage or student employees
- Communicates information that requires explaining practices, procedures and policies with others outside of the work unit
- Typically reports to a Level 1 or 2 Manager
- Responsible for performing work requiring prior experience of tasks learned on the job
- Work tasks are typically routine, but may require interpretation or deviation from standard procedures
- Operational knowledge base requiring capacity to understand specific needs or requirements to apply skills/subject matter knowledge; works under general supervision
- Typically reports to a Level 1 Manager
- Responsible for performing work require no prior experience, tasks can be learned on the job
- Work tasks are routine, follows standard procedures under close supervision