What Is Job Quality?

The Problem

The US economy, once recognized as an engine of unparalleled opportunity, is failing many individuals and communities. Nearly 1 in 3 employed people in the US are unable to make ends meet. A combination of globalization, automation, public policy and declining investment in education and worker training has resulted in an economic climate where simply being employed is inadequate as a proxy for economic well-being – for the individual or the nation. In order to understand the value of employment, we need to clearly understand and evaluate job quality, not just quantity.

Why Job Quality?

An inclusive economy and an equitable recovery requires quality jobs. By providing quality jobs that offer family sustaining wages, safe and inclusive environments, robust benefits, predictable scheduling, professional development and opportunities to advance, employers can address their skills gaps, increase the number of qualified applicants to open positions and improve their retention rates. They can also accelerate their company’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

Workers benefit from quality jobs as they provide family sustaining pay, benefits, fair schedules, training and career pathways, enabling them to save and build wealth, balance health and family commitments as well as invest in their personal and professional development.


While the beginning of each job quality journey is unique, successful job quality initiatives follow an important sequence. The following options will help you to understand what job quality means to an organization, how it supports equity, how it can be measured and how an agency can lead by example before tackling specific programs or partnerships.

Interested in a specific principle? You can also use the sidebar to find actions you can take when narrowing in on certain principles.

Job Quality Principles

Protect and uplift workers regardless of industry, career stage or geography. Without principles, equity gaps persist.
See the Framework

Foundational Elements

Establish the basis for organizational action
through shared understanding and outline a pathway to equity.
Getting Started

Levers for Change

Support workers’ growth and development. These influence long-term success and help address systemic racism and discrimination.
Explore actions

New to job quality?

If you are new to job quality or not sure where to start, review the Job Quality Principles. These eight principles outline what job quality looks like in practice to a worker or business. They provide common language that can be used to define a quality job and are centered around fostering equity for all. Feel free to use these principles as a starting point for discussions with stakeholders about what job quality means to your organization or local area. Creating a shared definition that reflects local realities is a powerful way to foster collaboration and encourage buy-in.

Opportunities for Change

Explore actions you can take to gain a holistic, inclusive view of what makes a good job taking into consideration not only basic needs or economic drivers, but also impacts on workers beyond compensation, benefits and safety.

Need Help? 

The best place to start your journey is with the basics of job quality. If you are interested in developing your definition and charting a path forward, check out the Foundational Elements.

  • Need to create a definition, develop buy-in or outline a strategy for job quality in your organization or area? Start with the Strategy element.
  • Have a strategy but looking to infuse equity into all you do? Start with the Equity element.

  • Looking for assistance defining and measuring the success of your Job Quality Strategy? Start with the Data and Measurement element.

  • Ready to implement Job Quality in your own organization? Start with Leading by Example element.