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Not Just a Job: New Evidence on the Quality of Work in the United States

Find out what matters most to U.S. workers and how the quality of their current job compares to the quality of life they want.

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Job quality is a powerful predictor of overall quality of life.

Until now, there hasn't been a comprehensive measure of U.S. job quality beyond income and benefits.

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Download the methodology document and codebook.

This document is intended to accompany the data set below. It includes instructions for using the data, more information about survey questions, the list of variables in the data set and the methodology of the data collection.

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Download the data set.

The data set includes measures of job situation now, in the past, and in the future; demographic information; education and training; hours worked and compensation; life and health evaluation; importance, level of satisfaction, and change in satisfaction for various job characteristics; engagement with work; tasks performed; and types of arrangements with employers or clients. Community-level data has also been appended. Download the methodology and codebook to accompany the data set. Choose the type of data file from the options below.

Job quality is a powerful predictor of overall quality of life. Until now, there hasn't been a comprehensive measure of U.S. job quality beyond income and benefits.

This new research asked 6,600 workers what they value, and if they have access to dimensions of quality such as autonomy, opportunities for advancement and job security during a time of historic economic expansion and record-low unemployment rates.

Key findings from the report:

  • Less than half of U.S. workers are in good jobs. Forty percent of employed Americans are in good jobs, 44% percent are in mediocre jobs and 16% are in bad jobs.
  • Income inequality translates into inequality in job quality across every dimension. Just 28% of those in the bottom one-fifth of incomes are in good jobs.
  • Few workers want their employment situation to be "just a job."
  • Race, ethnicity and gender are strongly correlated with job quality. Black women and Asian workers express low job quality overall.
  • Most workers say their level of pay has improved in recent years, but that other dimensions of job quality have not. No more than 37% of workers say any aspect of job quality unrelated to pay has improved during the last five years.
Report cover for Not Just a Job: New Evidence on the Quality of Work in the United States featuring a woman with a clipboard surveying shelves at a warehouse while other workers carry boxes.

60%
U.S. workers who are in mediocre or bad jobs.

79%
Workers in good jobs who experience the highest levels of satisfaction about their lives.

48%
Workers who say they are satisfied with their ability to change things about their job that they're unhappy with.

Read the full report and access the data set.

To receive complimentary access to the Lumina Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Omidyar Network and Gallup report Not Just a Job: New Evidence on the Quality of Work in the United States and the related data set, please fill out the form below. You will receive an email with a link to download a PDF of the report and methodology document and to access the data set. Someone from Gallup may also contact you via email about your interest in this topic.

  

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