Job Quality Principles

Job Quality Principles

The eight job quality principles below create a framework for government agencies and partners to develop, advance and measure job quality initiatives for workers in their communities. These principles were developed using research on worker priorities and input from national job quality experts. Different projects or initiatives may be focused on improving one or more of the job quality principles. Within each principle, a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) focus is essential to improving job quality for all workers.

These principles are aspirational, but provide a shared definition, standard and basis for metrics to inspire new action, accelerate existing collaboration and measure progress toward good jobs. While not every job will include every element outlined here, economic and workforce development practitioners can partner with employers to increase pathways towards good jobs, to increase the prevalence of good jobs and to address the rampant disparities in access to and experiences within jobs based on race and gender.

For consistency, the term job quality is used throughout this tool but local areas may use a variety of other terms such as good jobs or economy boosting jobs. 

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 address these principles should consider both what an employer needs in their workforce 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.

Job Necessities

Living wage provided through base pay, bonuses and profit sharing​
Stable, predictable and fair​
Safety and Security
Physical, mental, emotional and position structure​

Job Opportunities

Voice and Representation
Formal representation, participatory management and employee engagement​
Learning and Development
Career paths, training and skill development and recognition and advancement

Job Features

Health and well-being, education, wealth building and safety net support​
Environment and Culture​
Use of skills, sense of connection, and autonomy​
Purpose and Meaning​
Meaningfulness, mattering and personal alignment​