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Lumina Foundation, Gates Foundation and Omidyar Network Tell Full Story of U.S. Job Quality

Four organizations, four missions and one bold project: Get the full story of job quality in the U.S.

Lumina Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gallup and Omidyar Network collaborated to create a pivotal new job quality index measuring what workers truly need and value in their jobs -- and made sure key influencers heard the results.

6,600 U.S. workers responding to what makes a great job

16+ prominent media pickups

Download the reports or access the publicly available data and microdata.

The Challenge

Creating a Job Quality Index to Address the Gap

Numbers tell a story. The unemployment rate tells one. Income and benefits another. But an important piece of the story was missing: the voices of the people working in America. How did they feel about their jobs? How did they feel about their lives?

Before the Great Jobs Survey, there was no comprehensive way of measuring job quality in the U.S., meaning it was impossible to fully understand the effects of high- and low-quality jobs on overall quality of life.

Lumina Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gallup and Omidyar Network changed that.

What Is a Good Job?

The research combines hard data with qualitative insights to put a face to the numbers.

The Approach

Taking a Fresh Look at Jobs in America

Using Gallup's measurement innovations, rigorous standards and extensive data collection capabilities as well as consultation with leading economists, the partners created a 10-part job quality index -- the first of its kind to measure such a wide range of workplace factors across income groups.

Their discoveries?

  • Only 40% of employed Americans are in good jobs.
  • Enjoying their day-to-day work, having stable and predictable pay, and having a sense of purpose each rate more highly than level of pay among U.S. workers' criteria for job quality -- even among those in the bottom 20% of incomes.
  • There are significant racial disparities in job quality.
  • No more than 37% of workers say any aspect of job quality unrelated to pay has improved during the last five years.

This wealth of data positioned Lumina Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Omidyar Network to take the next, and even more important, step: to ensure these crucial findings led to changes in behavior and policy.

The index comprises workers' importance and satisfaction ratings for the following 10 workplace characteristics:

The Outcome

Paving the Way for Solutions in Education, Training and Employment -- and Better Lives

Once Lumina Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Omidyar Network had the numbers, it was time to tell the story to the employers, educators, researchers, policymakers and advocates who could use the insights to get more people into high-quality jobs.

The insights from measuring job quality were published in a suite of reports, and the data and microdata from the Great Jobs Survey are available for public use. These resources have been downloaded by over 1,000 people to date. At its initial launch, the first report garnered 16 Tier I media pickups, including a contributed piece from Jared Bernstein, former chief economist and economic adviser to Joe Biden during his vice presidency, in The Washington Post.

Descriptive collage of graphics from the report Not Just a Job.

Gallup also hosted a livestreamed report launch in Washington, D.C., to present findings and bring Bernstein, economist Nicole Smith, global staffing professional Quincie Rivers, author Stephanie Land and attendees into conversation about the implications of the report across a wide array of expertise.

As the labor market continues to shift, the unique partnership will allow Lumina Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Omidyar Network to continue to lead a movement toward better jobs, better lives and a more prosperous America.

"To make real progress for individual citizens and our society as a whole, we must reach those who have been left out and left behind, including racial and ethnic minorities, low-income workers, immigrants, and adults who can't access training and good jobs. This is not just about jobs -- this is about our citizens, our society and our economy."

Courtney Brown
Vice president for strategic impact for Lumina Foundation

Read the Reports

Income inequality has become a defining challenge of the early 21st century. Research from Lumina Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gallup and Omidyar Network helps to lay out pathways to high-quality jobs that lead to better lives.

Explore the findings on what matters most to U.S. workers and the opportunities for good jobs available to low-income and non-college-educated workers.

Making change that matters.

Learn how organizations everywhere are turning the workplace — and the world — into a better place.