CERN Accelerating science

Promotion Guide – A guide for career reviews

On 8 February, the Standing Concertation Committee (SCC) approved the Promotion Guide, subtitled “A guide for career reviews”. The English version is already published on the HR website.

This Promotion Guide is not very different from the Career Path Guide which it replaces following the implementation of the new career structure with benchmark jobs and grades.


The guide is composed of three parts:

Section I – Introduction revisits the reference documents: the Staff Rules and Regulations (S&R) and the Administrative Circular No. 26 (AC 26). In the Staff Rules and Regulations, the term promotion is defined as a change of grade1 and in Administrative Circular No. 26, the Promotion Guide is referenced under paragraph 452.

The objective of the Promotion Guide is laid out in Section I: “The Promotion Guide defines the criteria to be used as a reference for career reviews with a view to a potential promotion”. However, this guide does not apply only to promotions but also to changes of benchmark job (see Promotion Guide, Section I, CAREER REVIEW IN PRACTICE, part 5, page 6).

This section also describes the methodology for the evaluation of all types of functions in the Organization, in all professional categories and at all levels.

Then come the principles that underline the processes and the document itself, as well as the practices concerning career reviews (evaluation factors, tools and guidelines for the promotion of Senior Staff).

Section II – Promotion factors introduces the nine factors that make the basis on which a career review is conducted. These factors facilitate the assessment of the level of expertise, as well as the level of functions exercised, whether in view of a promotion or of a change of benchmark job.

Factor 1 Application of knowledge
Factor 2 Getting results with / through others
Factor 3 Relationships and communication
Factor 4 Problem solving
Factor 5 Change and innovation
Factor 6 Responsibilities for results
Factor 7 Information management
Factor 8 Use of the Organization’s rules
Factor 9 Level of proficiency in one of CERN’s official languages
as a foreign language




The guide provides a definition of each factor, as well as a table with the different levels reflecting the complexity of the functions exercised, the level of expertise or responsibility.











Section III - Promotion Matrix provides, in a matrix form, the levels expected for each of the nine factors and each grade of a benchmark job. Different benchmark jobs are grouped in families or clusters. For example, applied physicists and radiation protection physicists are grouped under the heading “Applied Physicists” in the matrix on the opposite:









Learning points

The Promotion Guide, aka Guide for career reviews, shall be used whenever a career review is required, whether it is initiated by the staff member, or in cases of (see AC 26):

  • a promotion, i.e. a change of grade;
  • a change of benchmark job, following a change of functions, with or without a higher grade span.

The use of this guide requires prior training, as well as knowledge of and compliance with rules (S&R, AC 26) and procedures (MERIT Guidelines).

Elaboration of the guide

The Promotion Guide was developed in concertation, within a working group where different sectors, the HR department and the Staff Association were represented.

This work was conducted in a transparent and constructive manner. When defining the factors and developing the matrices, the working group ensured that the expected criteria were defined as objectively as possible, taking into account, in particular, the levels of functions, occupational categories and levels of expertise.

Following the 2017 MERIT exercise, the working group that contributed to the development of the guide will conduct an analysis of the career reviews conducted in the context of promotions or changes of benchmark job3 in order to improve the process (and relative rules and procedures) on the basis of feedback from experience.

The Staff Association regrets, however, that a document of such importance is only available in English while it has already been in use since its publication. CERN staff rightly expects that regulatory documents will be published in both languages of the Organization, in order for everyone to get familiar with the document and use it in the language in which they feel most comfortable. Hence, we eagerly look forward to the French version of this Promotion Guide.


1 “The promotion of staff members shall be in the form of a change of grade.” (See Article S II 2.05 of S&R).
2 “The purpose of a career review is to assess the level of expertise, as well as the level of functions exercised by the staff member, with reference to the criteria set out in the Promotions Guide” (See § 45 of AC 26).
3 promotions and changes of benchmark jobs in the framework of the 2017 MERIT exercise take place between April 3rd and July 1st, 2017.