How to Customize a Job Catalog?

Use one of these four approaches

Structuring jobs is an individual process in any organization. The respective job catalog contains positions and structural and administrational data specific to each company. But this doesn’t mean that you have to collect all data points in an arduous process.

In many cases, it’s perfectly fine or even more efficient to use standardized content, especially in larger organizations. The standardized content exists in the form of predefined job catalogs for specific industries with common descriptions of typical jobs. They are typically provided by industry associations or specialized HR consultancies.

These predefined job catalogs save you time and investment because you don’t have to build everything from scratch. You can decide which data points about the jobs in your company need to be customized and which can be taken from a standardized set of jobs. This means there are various levels of customization you can choose from. The important thing is to take the decision about your approach before you begin building (or improving) your job catalog. Here are the four general types of job catalogs with various levels of customization. Which is the best fit for your needs?



This type of job catalog combines positions in various operational functions into one overarching, generic approach. For example, an Administrative Clerk could work in Finance, Facilities Management, HR Management, or Order Entry. Or a Technical Clerk who could be found in IT Support, IT Testing or IT Systems Administration.

The major advantages are low costs and the high speed of creating a job catalog. However, the descriptions of these jobs are limited to generic contents, which mainly refer to the assessment-relevant “how” of the job, little or not at all to the “what” of the job.

Highly Standardized Job Catalogs are therefore particularly suitable when the order of the day is to quickly and transparently classify jobs, rather than presenting the job content.



A Standardized Job Catalog contains various pre-defined operational functions, also referred to as job families and sub-job families, which fully represent the value chain of a company. For an industrial company, for example, about 80 to 130 standardized (sub-) job families (or: “functions”) typically describe their value chain, while about 40 to 70 (sub-) job families are needed to describe a service company. This exact number varies with the industry, type of product/ service provided or the complexity of the organizational structure.

The content of an individual job in this case refers to both the “what” and the “how” relevant to evaluation. In such a catalog, the jobs are standardized by way of the content (the “what”) which in turn is largely determined by market standards.

Standardized Job Catalogs are also relatively quick and inexpensive to create. They however may only fit an organization’s specific value chain to a small extent. Most providers of catalogs offer such Standardized Job Catalogs on their respective online platforms. They are a good choice when in addition to the classification of jobs a generic content mapping of the individual jobs is being done.



The Partly Standardized Job Catalogs also contain functions. However, the functions and specifically assigned jobs describe the core value chain of a company much better. The functions most relevant to the value chain are being defined individually, whereas functions with less impact can be heavily borrowed from standards.

Partly Standardized Job Catalogs adequately reflect the individuality of an organization without reinventing all jobs. They are the most common type and are often set up after major structural changes such as reorganization or the unification of HR systems.



Here, both the functions – or the (sub-) job families – and the individual jobs are being collected and mapped in a company-specific way. This means that both the “how” and the “what” of a job will be described in a way that states the specific contribution to the value creation. This advantage is offset by its relatively costly creation. Company-specific job catalogs are suitable when the business model of a company is unique and cannot necessarily be derived from existing typical service or manufacturing processes.


There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages. The choice will be based on an organization’s needs and budget. Typically, a hybrid approach is a good solution to benefit from standard content where possible but use customized content where it brings high value.