What Is Job Quality?


Our job quality framework is made up of eight interconnected principles that define a good job: earnings, schedules, safety and security, purpose and meaning, environment and culture, benefits, learning and development, and voice and representation.

These eight principles fall into three categories.

Job Necessities

Job Opportunities

Job Features

Job Necessities raise the floor for all jobs and create the conditions for fair work. Many of these principles are tangible and can be easily counted or reported by a worker or employer. Additionally, many states or localities have laws or regulations (e.g. minimum wage, safety standards) which companies must navigate in creating opportunities for education and engagement.

Job Opportunities are focused on career development, advancement and empowerment that lead to economic mobility for workers and increase performance for employers. These elements are well aligned with the core work of workforce and economic development organizations such as training, apprenticeships, coaching and worker engagement. These same elements can help employers address key considerations such as productivity, retention and sustainability. Successful efforts to promote job opportunities consider both what employers need in their workforces and what workers seek in their careers.

Job Features often serve as key talent attraction and retention drivers for employers and job satisfaction for workers. They are powerful mechanisms for employers to attract and retain diverse talent. There are also elements that will vary by worker based on personal preferences, life stage and family needs. While job quality work centered on Features can be very engaging, it is difficult for changes to have maximum impact if Job Necessities are not already in place. For example, it can be hard for a company to attract talent, even if the health benefits are good, when the environment doesn’t provide basic safety, security or wages.

Taking action

These principles are aspirational, and not every job will include all the principles. However, our framework provides a standard of measurement to inspire action, accelerate collaboration and track progress toward good jobs. Within each principle, a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) focus is essential to improving job quality for all workers.

Use this framework as a starting point for discussions with stakeholders about what job quality means to your organization or local area and adapt it to your needs. A shared definition that reflects local realities is a powerful way to foster collaboration and encourage buy-in. Keep in mind that different projects or initiatives may be focused on improving one or more of the job quality principles.

Economic and workforce development practitioners can use this playbook to:

  1. Support the expansion of good jobs in a community. This includes prioritizing available funding for improving the quality of existing jobs as well as creating, through investment, organic growth or relocation, net new jobs in the community.

  2. Help employers address pain points related to attraction, retention, advancement or productivity through the application of job quality principles in equitable ways throughout the recruiting, hiring and training process.

  3. Create accessible pathways to existing good jobs and address the disparities of experiences within jobs based on race and gender through work-based learning and other employer partnerships.

Haven’t adopted a job quality strategy locally?

Considering using the framework as a starting point. For more info on creating your own job quality strategy, check out the step-by-step guide below.

Note: For consistency, the term "job quality" is used throughout this tool but local areas may use other terms such as "good jobs" or "economy-boosting jobs." Employers may also use the terms "job design" or "employer of choice" to refer to job quality in their organizations.