What is a quality job and how do you know if you have one? This question has been being asked for many years and some conclusions were reached last year with the publication of the Taylor Review into Modern Working Practices (July 2017) which identified what ‘good work’ looks like. In response to the findings the Government have committed to come up with a robust measure of job quality. We think we may have the answer…

The CIPD has launched the UK working lives survey, a new annual survey on job quality. Combining previous research on the factors that impact job quality with a 6,000 sample survey, representative of the UK workforce, it provides the first comprehensive measure of UK job quality.

So what does it find?

While headline job satisfaction is relatively positive, with two-thirds (64%) of all workers satisfied with their jobs, there are concerning systemic and structural issues, especially for those in low-skilled and middle management. This means that the UK workforce is not as happy, or as productive as it could be.

The survey finds that those in management positions are often overworked, with more than a third (35%) of people in middle management saying that they have too much work to do. This can not only lead to stress and poor mental health, but also means they are not able to manage their teams to the best of their ability. This can also create a cascade effect, with stress being passed down the organisation and impacting staff at all levels.

Among those in low-skilled workers, the primary issue is a lack of access to skills and training. Among unskilled and casual workers, more than a third (37%) say that they have not received any training in the last 12 months, while two in five (43%) do not believe their job offers them good opportunities to develop. This lack of development opportunity risks leaving these workers stuck and unable to progress their careers, and has to be addressed.

So what is the solution?

Organisations and government need to work together to ensure we’re focussed on working smarter, not just harder.

That means designing our jobs flexibly and in ways that best utilise the skills of the workforce, implementing positive health and well-being strategies, and tackling workplace cultures of stress and giving voice and support to workforces.

Alongside that, we need to give those looking to develop their skills the ability to do so, through workplace learning and wider investment in skills development to make sure we’re making the most of all the talent that people have.

People professionals, from HR to L&D, can and should play a key role in this agenda. They sit closest to many of the levers that can improve job quality in their organisations, and many of the recommendations of this report are based around helping people professionals make the biggest impact they can.

You can read the survey in full here.

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Championing better work and working lives

About the CIPD

At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.