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Published: 12 February 2019

Mapping the quality of working life in Britain

Job quality in Britain is said to be in crisis. In response, the UK government has initiated a far-reaching review of job quality in Britain, The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices.

Unstressed woman in office
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One outcome of the review is that the government now plans to develop and publish national indicators of progress in job quality (eg autonomy at work, development, job demands), alongside other headline labour market figures like unemployment and wage growth.

Surrey Business School’s Dr Mark Williams and Dr Ying Zhou are playing a leading role in this project, identifying a new system for mapping disparities in job quality, in partnership with Henley Business School, the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Previous research has shown that ‘good’ jobs are not necessarily the highest-skilled or highest-paid, and that ‘bad’ jobs are not necessarily the lowest-skilled or lowest-paid. As well as hopefully being integrated into government strategy, the aim is that the new classification tool might be adopted more widely, such as in academic research.

The £170,000 project, ‘Mapping the Quality of Working Life in Britain: An Occupational Approach’, is funded under the Economic and Social Research Council’s Secondary Data Analysis Initiative.