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Job Descriptions

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What is a Job Description?

A job description (JD) is a written statement of facts describing the scope, responsibilities and organizational relationships of a job. It is intended to provide a clear picture of the position’s role within the organization.

A well-written, up-to-date job description should communicate an overall picture of the nature, type and level of the work being performed by a position; as well as point out the frequency, duration and intensity of any unusual and unavoidable working conditions which are inherent to the job.

A job description should be written to describe the job as it currently exists, and not how it existed in the past or will exist in the future.

The Purpose, Scope, Responsibilities, and Working Conditions sections of a job description focus on the requirements of the job, and not on the attributes, skills or abilities of a particular incumbent.

The Knowledge, Skills and Abilities (KSA) section and the education and experience ‘Typically Attained By’ (TAB) sections should reference minimums needed by a person in order to ensure competent job performance.

In support of the GNWT’s Indigenous Recruitment and Retention Framework and Action Plan, a job description review guide has been created. This resource will assist Departments, Boards and Agencies in writing and editing job descriptions to address systemic barriers and incorporate Indigenous cultural and social factors within job descriptions. The full document, including user-friendly tables and examples, can be found here.


When should a job description be reviewed by the supervisor?

A job description should be reviewed:

  • All Departments, Boards and Agencies, beginning in 2022, are organizing and performing reviews of all job descriptions to address systemic barriers and incorporate Indigenous cultural and social factors.
  • Prior to staffing a position, the job description should be checked for accuracy, as well as to ensure it is in the current template, whether Senior Management or Non-Senior Management.
  • Periodically, whether vacant or encumbered, as jobs are dynamic and change over time to meet the priorities and requirements of the organization, it is recommended that you review job descriptions that report to you approximately every 5 years to ensure that job duties are still applicable.


When should a job description be submitted to the Job Evaluation & Organizational Design unit?

A job description should be submitted when:

  • A “New” position is established
  • The responsibilities of a position have changed
  • An organizational change has occurred
  • There are changes to the job’s working conditions, tools, technology, etc.
  • The job description has been updated into a fresh template, and/or had any other edits (i.e., KSA’s and/or TAB statements)

Read more about Job Evaluation in the Online Managers' Toolkit.


How do I write or update a Job Description?

Job Description - Flowchart


Click here for more information on Job Description Writing


References & Authorities

Excluded Employees’ Handbook
Job Evaluation

HR Manual:
Section 900 : Job Evaluation

GNWT Learning & Development Calendar

Main Collective Agreement with UNW
Article 24: Pay

Article 36: Job Evaluation

Senior Managers’ Handbook