Calls for an annual measure of quality of work in the UK

A report released by the Measuring Job Quality Working Group calls for government to annually monitor the quality of work in the UK, including job security, workplace mental health and support offered by employers.

In response to the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, published in 2017, the Measuring Job Quality Working Group was formed. The group is jointly led by the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) and Carnegie UK Trust.

The report recognises that whilst there are record levels of employment, workers are in jobs where their skills are under-utilised, they are working too many or too few hours, and they are often experiencing excessive workplace pressure. This in turn is significantly impacting on people’s quality of life and wellbeing.

The report sets out that government should release a set of national job quality metrics, according to the CIPD’s seven job quality dimensions. These include terms of employment, pay and benefits, health, safety and psychological wellbeing, job design, social support and cohesion, voice and representation, and work/life balance.

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, said that high employment levels do not give the whole picture:

“A focus on record employment levels and the quantity of work only tells us so much: we do not know whether workers feel happy, well treated, have opportunities for progression, work the number of hours they want to, or feel they have control over their working lives.”

Martyn Evans, chief executive of Carnegie UK Trust, added that in-work poverty and job security is escalating:

“Today the numbers in work in the UK are at a record high but the quality of that work has come under scrutiny. There are unprecedented levels of in-work poverty and growing work insecurity and inequality.”

“Effective job quality measurement will tell us more about the reality and complexity of work, and its impact on quality of life for citizens. It will tell us what people across the UK experience in work and what their views are.”