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The Castellion Job Evaluation System

Memory Nguwi
18/01/2024 12:35 PM

Born in the 1950s amidst the bustling breweries of South Africa, the Castellion system of job evaluation holds a rich history steeped in the quest for fairness and transparency in employee compensation. Conceived by Arthur Cortis of South African Breweries Group (SAB), this system drew its name from the iconic "Castle" and "Lion" lager brands, forever linking its fate to the dynamic world of brewing.

At its core, Castellion embraced the "period of discretion" concept championed by Dr. Elliott Jacques, recognizing the value of decision-making autonomy in shaping job worth. The system started as a hybrid, blending the strengths of factor comparison and points rating methods. It soon underwent a transformative phase in the 1960s, streamlining its focus to three fundamental factors: Effort, Responsibility, and Competence. Each factor, further divided into two sub-factors, provided a clear and insightful framework for evaluating the demands and complexities of diverse roles.

The Castellion system's appeal quickly transcended the walls of SAB, finding wide adoption across Zimbabwe, Namibia, and other African nations. Its user-friendly structure and emphasis on objectivity resonated with organizations in various industries, from manufacturing and banking to public services. By providing a common language for understanding job worth and fostering transparency in salary structures, Castellion earned its place as a trusted instrument in employee relations. In Zimbabwe, roughly 38% of organizations use the Catellion system.

Yet, the journey hasn't been without challenges. As the workforce and workplace dynamics evolved, the system faced questions about potential biases in its factor structure and reliance on individual judgment. However, the Castellion system has evolved instead of succumbing to these critiques. Organizations tailor the system to their needs, demonstrating its inherent flexibility and willingness to evolve.

Today, the Castellion system retains its relevance despite facing modern challenges in employee evaluation. Its practicality and ease of implementation remain valuable, while its commitment to transparency and fairness resonates with the generality of the workforce. As we look towards the future, Castellion faces exciting possibilities. Integration with technological advancements and data-driven approaches could further enhance its validity and reliability, ensuring its continued role in shaping a fair and transparent world of work.

The Catellion system grade jobs based on 6 factors, which are explained below.

Decision Making

In the Castellion system, Decision Making is the cornerstone of effort, reflecting the mental exertion in choosing optimal courses of action. It goes beyond mere rote selection, demanding varying degrees of judgment and information processing depending on the situation.

The complexity of decisions forms the basis for evaluating this factor. Decisions range from those based on readily available information and well-established procedures (low complexity) to those requiring complex problem-solving, abstract analysis, and weighing o

The Decision-Making Scale: A Framework for Evaluation

The Castellion system categorizes decision-making into four levels:

  • Decisions based on rote memory involve applying well-defined procedures and readily available information to routine tasks.
  • Decisions based on pragmatic experience: Past experiences and practical knowledge guide these decisions, often in familiar contexts with predictable outcomes.
  • Decisions involving adaptive thinking: This level demands adapting established procedures to address novel situations, requiring flexibility and judgment in interpreting diverse information.
  • Strategic decisions: These involve long-term planning, analysis of complex data, and weighing of uncertain future outcomes. They require the highest level of analytical and strategic thinking.

Pressure of work 

In the Castellion system, the Pressure of Work factor stands alongside decision-making to paint a complete picture of the mental effort required by a job. It goes beyond mere workload, focusing on the intensity and urgency of decision-making, the juggling of diverse tasks, and the constant shifts in context that can all build mental strain. Even light workloads can become intensely pressurized if they demand frequent, critical decisions across varied tasks with tight deadlines. The scoring for this factor considers this complexity, with higher categories and scores within them reflecting greater pressure and a larger multiplier applied to the Decision-Making score. Ultimately, the Pressure of Work serves to amplify the mental exertion experienced in making those decisions, providing a nuanced and comprehensive assessment of the overall effort demanded by a particular job.

Controls and Checks 

Completing the picture of mental effort in the Castellion system, Control and Checks, or Independence, explores the autonomy granted to a jobholder, revealing the layers of trust entrusted and the degree of self-driving leadership expected. It's a journey from tightly controlled tasks with frequent check-ins, where prescribed controls limit agency, to the strategic heights of organizational control, where individuals juggle conflicting objectives over the years with minimal oversight. In the middle lie indirect controls, where discussions shift to abstract concepts and long-term assessments, and remote controls, where trust in independent planning and execution blossoms. Annual checks mark a significant leap, with a year's performance being scrutinized, revealing the ability to navigate complexity and deliver on long-term goals. Then comes the rarefied air of organizational control, where numerous, often conflicting objectives become the playground, and success hinges on strategic choices and balancing diverse pressures with minimal intervention. Finally, atop the pyramid sits top-level control, where performance is judged only by the highest leadership, and potential consequences transcend immediate concerns. This spectrum of oversight reveals the level of trust poured into a jobholder, highlighting their freedom and responsibility in shaping their work and achieving desired outcomes. 

Consequence of Error of Judgement 

The Castellion system's fourth pillar, Consequences of Error of Judgment, delves into the potential impact of flawed decisions, revealing the magnitude of responsibility entrusted to a jobholder. It's a spectrum of repercussions, stretching from minor inconveniences to catastrophic organizational failures.

At the lowest rung, limited consequences arise when safeguards and standard practices minimize the error's reach. Here, wasted time and labor might be the worst-case scenario, with a potential dip in goodwill for the organization. Moving up, a limited sphere of assets or work becomes susceptible to errors, potentially affecting departmental functioning or causing high-nuisance inconveniences. Long-term implications may emerge at the next level, where poor supervision, ineffective administration, or compromised professional standards accumulate into noticeable costs.

The stakes indeed rise beyond this point. Significant organizational performance reductions become possible, with faulty senior appointments or poor corporate design potentially leaving lasting scars. Losses may never be fully recovered, and the organization's ability to achieve its objectives hangs in the balance. Finally, at the apex of accountability, damaging consequences loom large, threatening the organization's efficiency and operational viability for years to come. 

This spectrum of potential pitfalls underscores the weight of judgment resting on certain jobholders. The magnitude of consequences associated with their decisions shapes the degree of trust and responsibility they carry. 


Education in Castellion forms a straightforward ladder, reflecting the essential knowledge required for job performance. Each rung represents a step up in formal schooling or training, with points assigned based on qualifications achieved.

From basic reading and arithmetic in primary education to complex calculations and scientific understanding at post-graduate levels, the system maps varying degrees of knowledge to job demands. Higher qualifications translate to higher points, reflecting the increased mental effort and responsibility associated with more specialized skills.


Experience, in the Castellion system, acts as a time-tested amplifier, enriching the raw power of education. It recognizes that theoretical knowledge needs real-world seasoning to blossom into practical skill and confident responsibility. Each rung on the experience ladder, measured in years of directly relevant service, earns points that multiply the education score, reflecting the deeper understanding and adaptability. From essential minimum requirements to seasoned mastery, the system rewards the gradual transformation of knowledge into practical experience. 


While not without limitations, Castellion continues to hold its ground as a reliable tool. Its adaptability allows customization to specific contexts, and its potential for integration with data-driven approaches promises further refinement. Ultimately, the Castellion system is a testament to the enduring quest for fairness and transparency in employee compensation. 

Memory Nguwi

Super User

This article was written by one of the consultants at IPC

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