Job quality


On average, a person from an OECD country spends 37 hours a week at work, and an increasingly larger share of their adult lives in paid-work. Therefore, work is strongly related to the quality of individuals’ lives and their well-being. Moreover, quality jobs are an important driver of increased labour force participation, productivity and economic performance. The OECD has developed a framework to measure and assess the quality of jobs that considers three objective and measurable dimensions. Together, they provide a comprehensive assessment of job quality.

  • Earnings quality captures the extent to which earnings contribute to workers' well-being in terms of average earnings and their distribution across the workforce. 

  • Labour market security captures those aspects of economic security related to the risks of job loss and its economic cost for workers. It is defined by the risks of unemployment and benefits received in case of unemployment. 

  • Quality of the working environment captures non-economic aspects of jobs including the nature and content of the work performed, working-time arrangements and workplace relationships. These are measured as incidence of job strain characterised as high job demands with low job resources

Key findings

How good is your job? Measuring and assessing job quality (PDF)
New data show importance of quality as well as quantity of jobs and how both evolved during crisis

Earnings quality
PPP-adjusted gross hourly earnings in USD, 2013 or the latest year available

Note: data refer to 2012 for France, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland; 2011 for Israel and 2010 for Estonia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Slovenia and Turkey. Generalized means approach is used as an aggregation tool to compute earnings quality measures, assuming a high inequality aversion.
Source: OECD Job Quality database (2016)


Labour market insecurity
Risk of becoming unemployed and its expected cost as a share of previous earnings, 2013

Note: data for Chile refer to 2011 instead of 2013.
Source: OECD Job Quality database (2016)


Job strain
Incidence of job strain, 2015

Note: data on Turkey are based on results of the 2005 European Working Conditions Surveys (EWCS).
Source: OECD Job Quality database (2016) based on the 6th European Working Conditions Survey for 2015 and International Social Survey Program Work Orientations Module III for 2005.


Job quality database

This database is structured around the three main dimensions of the OECD Job Quality framework. It displays country level information on Earnings Quality, Labour Market Security and the Quality of the Working Environment as well as their sub-dimensions. Data are available between 2005 and 2015 for OECD countries. The figures can be disaggregated by gender, by age (15-29, 30-49 and 50-64), or by education groups (low, medium and high).

Access the Job quality database



Inventory on the quality of the working environment

This inventory maps existing surveys that provide information on the characteristics of people's jobs. It reviews international surveys conducted since the early 1990s that are based on individuals' self-reported assessment of their current job, and cover around 160 countries over 25 years. It also provides users with detailed documentation on the questions used in the various surveys for measuring different aspects of work.

Access the Inventory



Further reading

Measuring and assessing job quality: The OECD job quality framework, Cazes, S., A. Hijzen and A. Saint-Martin (2015), 
    OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 174

Measuring labour market security and its implications for individual well-being, Hijzen, A. and B. Menyhert (2016)
    OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 175

More unequal, but more mobile? Earnings inequality and mobility in OECD countries, Garnero, A., A. Hijzen and S. Martin (2016)
    OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers, No. 177

Unemployment, temporary work and subjective well-being: Gendered effect of spousal labour market insecurity in the United Kingdom, Inanc, H. (2016)
    OECD Statistics Working Papers, No. 70

Non-regular employment, job security and the labour market divideOECD (2014), OECD Employment Outlook 2014, Chapter 4

The quality of working lives: Earnings mobility, labour market risk and long-term inequality,

 OECD (2015), OECD Employment Outlook 2015, Chapter 4

 Enhancing job quality in emerging economiesOECD (2015), OECD Employment Outlook 2015, Chapter 5 



Ministerial meeting on Labour and Employment, 15 January 2016
Joint EC/OECD Seminar: “Job Quality, Labour Market Performance and Well-Being”, 27-28 November 2014


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