A quality job. What’s not to like? But what do we mean by ‘quality’ and how can we measure it appropriately so it can be improved? The CIPD has conducted a detailed and extensive survey of approximately 6,000 workers across different sectors using seven critical dimensions which employees, employers and policy makers can measure and focus on to raise job quality and improve working lives.

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Applied to the UK workforce, the index provides a snapshot of what job quality looks like in Britain today. Our survey report reveals some myth-busting findings, and underscores the critical role of skills development, access to training, career conversations and especially employee well-being in advancing job quality.

Download the Survey report below

7 dimensions of job quality

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Pay, benefits and pensions

  • 1-in-4 workers were in effect on less than the real Living Wage.
  • Almost half of the workers (45%) think that their pay is ‘appropriate’ for what they do and 36% do not.
  • 59% would work even if they didn’t need the money.

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Terms of employment

Contract type, job security and development opportunities

  • Only 2.7% of workers had taken part in the gig economy.
  • 74% are in full-time or part-time permanent employment, 19% are self-employed.
  • Nearly half of all jobs fail to provide decent career development.

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Job design and the nature of work

Workload, qualifications and skills, empowerment and meaningful work

  • 30% of workers have workloads that are to some extent unmanageable.
  • 1-in-20 workers (6%) are swamped by what they do each day at work with ‘far too much’ work.

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Social support and cohesion

Relationships at work, psychological safety, people management

  • 80% of employees rate their relationship with their managers positively.

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Health and well-being

Physical and mental health

  • 44% of workers say work has a positive impact on their mental health.
  • 30% say they are often or always ‘full of energy’ at work, in contrast with 55% who feel under excessive pressure, exhausted or regularly miserable.

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Work–life balance

Overwork, commuting, access to flexible working

  • The average employee works five hours per week more than they would like to.
  • Nearly two-thirds (63%) would like to reduce their hours.

Voice and representation

Opportunities to have a voice at work

  • Employee voice is most positive in the private sector and least positive in the voluntary sector.

Better work means better working lives

Work is a significant component of our lives, and meaningful, satisfying work through quality employment will reap benefits for individuals, organisations and society as a whole. As indicated by our index and report findings, raising job quality will require a multi-faceted approach and collaboration by all stakeholders. Policy makers, employers and workers need to work together to:

  • Create clearer paths to career progression.
  • Give access to flexible working.
  • Improve line management and HR capability.
  • Review job design and organisational culture to reduce excessive workload and stress.
  • Champion mental health and overall wellbeing.

The health and value of the modern economy has long been gauged purely on quantitative measures such as gross domestic product, growth rates and productivity. A concerted focus on advancing the qualitative aspects of jobs and working lives will prove to be the next step forward.

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