What is a job family? Why is it important? And what separates it from a job function? Let’s dive in for some answers. 

Job Family Definition

A job family includes roles with similar education, skills, training, or experience. So, what is the difference between job function and job family? A job family is a group of job functions.

Harvard defines a job family as:

“A group of jobs having the same nature of work (e.g., Accountant or HR Generalist) but requiring different levels of skill, responsibility, or working conditions (e.g., entry-level versus senior level). The job family may also be referred to as a specialty area.”

and they define job function as:

“A broad category of jobs (e.g., Finance or General Administration or Faculty & Student Services) which includes multiple job families. The job function may also be referred to as a profession.”

Employees working in a specific job family might not have all the same duties, but they work in the same department. For example, an Accountant and a Financial Auditor are 2 similar (but different) roles in the Finance and Accounting job family.

Note: Check out our blog on What is a Job Function? to learn more about job functions. 


Job Families — Examples 

Job families might differ depending on which industry you are in (e.g., Higher Education vs. Fintech). Here’s a typical job families list used across most sectors:

  • Administration
  • Design
  • Facilities
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • Legal
  • Marketing
  • Operations
  • Sales

So, how might a job family framework look in IT, Hospitality, and Finance? Here are 3 examples:

IT Job Families

The University of Tennesse system has a dedicated page for each job family. Their IT job family is made up of the 3 roles below, each with its own job functions:

IT job families | U of Tennesse


Hospitality Job Families

Here is a job families framework from the hospitality industry. At each job family level, there are different roles. These roles might have similar duties, but they expand as a person moves up in the hierarchy:

Hotel ManagementHousekeepingCatering
Hotel ManagerHead of Housekeeping Head of Catering
Shift ManagerHousekeeping SupervisorCatering Manager
ReceptionistHousekeeperCatering Assistant
PorterRoom Attendant Catering Intern


Finance Job Families

The University of Wisconsin uses the chart below to outline their finance job families into sub-families (and sample jobs):

finance job families examples


What is a Job Family Matrix?

A job family matrix is a helpful tool to organize information about different roles in a job family. Items to list in a job family matrix include:

  • job title
  • job code
  • department
  • salary/pay grade
  • exempt/non-exempt status
  • job summary
  • core duties
  • basic qualifications
  • preferred skills or qualifications
  • required certifications or licenses
  • essential physical requirements
  • working conditions

Here are 2 examples of a job family matrix template:

Harvard University’s HR Compensation – Professional job family matrix is in PDF format. But you can use it as a guide to create your own:

job family matrix template | Harvard

This job family matrix template from PDFfiller is downloadable, so you can make edits:

job family matrix template | PDFfiller



At Ongig, we love everything related to job descriptions. This includes job families that are the foundation for writing job postings. Check out our Text Analyzer software if you need help creating clear, consistent JDs (that are bias-free).



  1. Harvard University Job Functions and Families
  2. Job Families (by DePaul HR) 
  3. Five ways in which job families can create HR harmony (by Paydata)
  4. Job Family definition (by Law Insider)
  5. List of Job Families (Duke University HR) 
  6. 04.23.2003 – SISC making progress on new job structure (berkeley.edu) (by Berkeley University)
  7. Job Families Handout (by University of Wisconsin)
  8. IT Job Families (by University of Tennessee)
  9. Business Administrator Job Family Matrix (by PDFfiller)
  10. HR Compensation Matrix (by Harvard University)

by in Job Description Management