The annual CIPD Good Work Index report provides rich research data on working lives and job quality in the UK. But who are the people behind the numbers and what are their experiences of work really like? How can we use their stories to fill the gaps in our understanding and to shine a light on what things make work ‘good’?

The CIPD spoke with people in different professions and different roles, to hear in their own words the highs and lows of their working life and the different ways that job quality plays out in their experience. Their stories give us an insight into real people in real jobs, to help us learn what employers need to do to champion better work and working lives. 

We’d like to thank everyone who took the time to share their stories so openly and candidly with us – we’ve changed their names to protect their anonymity. 



EDI Manager


Housing Manager

HR Administrator




Female silhouette

It’s not like an office where you can get a drink or go to the toilet when you want. You can’t just leave 30 children in a room... You’re on show constantly.


Secondary School Teacher

Female silhouette

Now it’s nice just to be in a role where I’m paid for 37.5 hours, I'm expected to work 37.5 hours, and I actually work 37.5 hours.


HR Administrator

Female silhouette

I had my wisdom teeth out and was back in the kitchen half an hour later. Unless your head is falling off, it is seen as a badge of honour to carry on working.


Head Chef

Male silhouette

I’ve not actually had a day off sick in about 12 years. So, it’s obviously not affecting my health that much, but then that’s part of me – I hate taking time off, I’d rather be at work.



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