What is grade creep?

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Mark Hammer 4 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #181423

    Elizabeth Sullivan

    I was reading a blog post about getting rid of the GS system and it mentioned grade creep, I’ve looked all over I and I can’t find out what it means, can anyone help me?

  • #181429

    Mark Hammer

    I assume it is the same as what we call “classification creep” on our side of the border. The notion is that positions gradually get classified higher over time, for the same duties and responsibilities. It’s a way of being able to pay more competitive wages and attract people, or hold onto staff who might leave for a promotion elsewhere. It can also occur if there is a discrepancy between what is considered “working level” in agency A vs B.

    I’ll also assume it doesn’t refer to that guy in your pay grade who keeps looking at you funny.

  • #181427

    Elizabeth Sullivan

    I get it now, thanks.

  • #181425

    Earl Rice

    In the US, it is normally associated with Washington DC Central Office positions. I.e. Position A is graded as a GS12 in St Louis, but the same standardized PD would grade out (or rate out…classifier term) as a GS13 in the DC area. The connotation is usually meant in a negative context that a person’s position is way overrated grade wise for the work being performed. The GS systems exists to standardize the pay for the same level of work throughout the government. When there is grade creep, it means someone is trying to have people make more money than what the scope and nature of the work of the position would warrant. Usually associated with fraud, waste, etc.

    Side note, the Title 5 system is based upon the grade of a position being based upon the scope and nature of the work of the position, ergo what the position is supposed to do, not the qualifications of the person in the position. Person has a PhD and they are filling a GS6 position, means that they are going to get GS6 pay, because that is the level of the scope and nature of the work of the position. They want more pay, then they will have to find a higher graded position to compete for. There are some other systems, like the VA’s Title 38 system, which is a rank in person system based upon the qualifications of the person. A VA Radiologist makes $345,000 [quite a few do]. Regardless of the position the Radiologist fills, they will still make $345,000 because their pay is based upon their qualifications and the local market pay for radiologist, not on the position in some organizational chart. VHA organizational charts are strange. You may see a Physician as the Chief (no grade there though, just the VM 602-00), next will be Assistant Chief (VM-602-00), and then 6 boxes marked Physicians (also labeled as VM-602-00). None will have a grade associated with it. And, all of them may be making different salaries based upon skills, certifications, etc. This is a rank in person system.

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