One in three employees report being in low-quality jobs
New research from the Health Foundation using Understanding Society also shows that people in low-quality jobs are more likely to report poor health.
The research, which is based on analysis of Understanding Society, goes beyond traditional indicators of job insecurity such as unemployment, self-employment or zero-hours contracts to explore workers’ perceptions of job quality and the implications for their health. The Health Foundation research looks at different aspects of job quality, including pay, job security, work satisfaction and how much autonomy employees have.
Government policy in recent years has largely focused on getting people into work. This research argues that to improve health, the quality of work also needs to be considered. Over the past 10 years unemployment in the UK has fallen, but this hasn't necessarily improved people's health.
The Health Foundation found that 51% of people in low-quality work in 2010/11 were still in low-quality work six years later. The research also shows how some regions and population groups are disproportionately affected by low-quality work. Over half (55%) of employees under 25 years old report being in low-quality work, compared to around a third (33%) of those aged 25 plus. There are also significant geographical variations with Northern Ireland (42%), Wales (42%), the North East (40%), and West Midlands (40%) all having high levels of low-quality work.
Adam Tinson, Senior Analyst at the Health Foundation, said "These findings highlight the scale and persistence of low-quality work. Our choice of occupation shapes our health directly, and underpins other factors that matter for health such as our income or social networks. Low-quality work is where someone feels stressed and unfulfilled, whether that’s due to pay, insecurity, a lack of autonomy or a feeling of dissatisfaction. To boost job quality, employers should give greater consideration to job security, job design, management practices and the working environment."