The purpose of the levels
The generic attributes that characterise SFIA’s seven levels of responsibility and accountability provide the underlying structure of the SFIA Framework. They ensure that the definitions of professional skills are defined in a way that makes their different levels recognisably distinct and aligned to the levels of responsibility.
The power of the levels of responsibility
As well as providing the fundamental structure of the SFIA Framework, the seven levels of responsibility also provide a basis of mapping for professional career pathways, corporate structures and other frameworks. The nature of the generic attributes makes them suitable as the basis of core competencies, mappings and stages within a career path.
- An organisation that already has a set of core competencies or values can use them in combination with SFIA’s professional skills and benefit from the spacing that the SFIA levels provide and the international recognition afforded by a global common standard.
- An organisation, a professional body or trade association for instance, that wishes to map its own established structure to SFIA can do so using the levels of responsibility characterised by the generic attributes as the basis of such a mapping.
The 7 levels of responsibility
The seven levels provide the backbone of SFIA. The skills and competencies are described at the levels at which they are found to be practiced within the working world. The generic attributes which contain behavioural factors and knowledge statements are described at each of the seven levels. These combine to provide a common language to describe levels of responsibility across roles in all the professional disciplines represented in SFIA.
The two distinct areas, behaviours and skills, can be applied and assessed separately. They can also be combined to reflect that the successful exercising of a skill or competency at a particular level is dependent on possessing and applying behavioural, knowledge and generic attributes as the same or very similar level. For example, an individual asked to perform a skill or competency as level 6 will not be able to do this effectively if their level of influence or autonomy is only at level 3.
The SFIA Framework consists of seven levels of responsibility from Level 1, the lowest, to Level 7, the highest.
The levels are described using the behaviours, values, knowledge and characteristics that an individual should have in order to be identified as operating at the level.
The levels are precisely written to be progressive, distinct and consistently described.
Each of the seven levels is also labelled with a guiding phrase to summarise the level of responsibility.
Generic attributes underpin the levels of responsibility
The levels of responsibility are characterised by generic attributes which describe behavioural factors such as, collaboration, communication, creativity, decision making, execution performance, influence, leadership, learning and professional development, planning, problem solving and security, privacy and ethics. The generic attributes are:
- Business skills
The definitions of the seven levels describe the behaviours, values, knowledge and characteristics that an individual should have in order to be identified as competent at the level.
The breakdown of each level of responsibility can be found in the levels of responsibility section. SFIA Level 1 is shown here as an example.