Good Job

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Heron defines a good job as employment that ameliorates poverty; specifically, it is employment that facilitates reliable and stable access to basic goods and services, usually through wages and benefits.

What constitutes a "good job" from the point of view of the employee is necessarily subjective, and so we approach it instead through the behaviors of a good employer. At a most basic level, this means providing decent wages, benefits and hours in a safe and legal work environment. Even better employers invest in their employees through practices that allow them to live enjoyable, healthy and fulfilling lives.

Last Updated: June 9, 2016

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Discussion

Deirdre Hess Sep 5, 2015 Reply

One of the challenges of defining "good job" is that some characteristics are easy to measure and others are very qualitative. For example, in the definition given by Gallup CEO Jim Clifton in the article, linked above, only "good job" characteristics are quantitative:

"Gallup defines a good job as one with 30+ hours of work a week with a consistent paycheck from an employer. A great job is a job in which you believe your boss cares about your development, you can use your strengths every day at work, and you believe your work makes a contribution to something. So your job matters and, subsequently, your life matters."

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Carol Glazer, President, National Organization on Disability Dec 8, 2015 Reply

For too long, having a disability has meant living in poverty. In our country's history, people with disabilities were denied the right to participate and work in their communities. Instead, they have been institutionalized, hidden away in sheltered workshops that paid sub-minimum wages or relegated to relying on disability insurance that translates to an annual benefit only slightly above the poverty level.

But the truth is, working-aged Americans with disabilities can and want to participate in competitive, integrated employment. Like the Heron Foundation, we at the National Organization on Disability (NOD) understand that increasing access to good jobs--with competitive wages, healthcare benefits and access to job accommodations--is key to breaking the link between disability and poverty.

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Tom Woelfel and Daniel Brett, Pacific Community Ventures Jun 13, 2016 Reply

At Pacific Community Ventures, we believe that the creation of quality jobs – jobs that are good for workers, businesses, and communities – can bring us closer to an economy that works for everyone. Unfortunately, the reality is that good job opportunities aren’t available to most working people. Given the current trends in the US economy – median family income is the lowest it’s been in 20 years, and over two-thirds of the occupations expected to have the largest growth are low-skill, low wage ones – we can’t tackle this problem without a focused, coordinated effort of businesses, investors, government agencies, and nonprofits.

Towards this aim, we recently published Moving Beyond Job Creation, a paper which brings clarity to what actually constitutes a good job and offers practical ways by which CDFIs and other impact investors can measure the quality of the jobs they’re supporting.

Through our research, we identified five key elements of a quality job:
1. A living wage
2. Basic benefits
3. Career-building opportunities
4. Wealth-building opportunities
5. A fair and engaging workplace

While we agree that some aspects of a quality job can be more difficult to assess, we offer a framework for measuring both the easily quantifiable elements of a quality job as well as those that are more amorphous or qualitative in nature. The paper also describes how job quality data can be used by investors to improve the jobs at the businesses they support, and it’s our intent that this research is just the first step in advancing the broader discussion around creating and investing in quality jobs.

We’re pleased to have seen strong interest from CDFIs, foundations, and impact investors in supporting quality job creation. Last week at the Opportunity Finance Network Small Business Finance Forum, we held a discussion that featured a panel of CDFIs who shared how they support the creation of quality jobs. Many CDFIs in attendance expressed a desire to prioritize the creation of quality jobs, but cited the need for additional support to build their organization’s capacity to effectively work with businesses to improve job quality and measure progress towards goals.

At PCV, we’re committed to providing research and consulting that will enhance the capabilities of CDFIs and other investors who support quality job creation, and believe it will be critical for foundations and others to support capacity-building efforts that will translate interest into action. But to improve the way that jobs are designed across our economy, it will take a broad coalition of partners across the business, government, and nonprofit sectors, and so we recognize that CDFIs and impact investors are only one piece of the solution.

Our work on quality jobs has only just begun. In the coming months, we’ll be exploring the role that public policy can play to encourage more investments in quality job creation, and we’ll also be assisting CDFIs and other impact investors to incorporate a quality-jobs focus into their impact measurement and reporting. We’ll also continue to discuss the importance of quality job creation at industry events including SOCAP 16 in September and the Opportunity Finance Network conference in October.

We welcome the opportunity to connect with anyone interested in collaborating on this important topic. Be sure to stay tuned for future research on quality jobs from PCV InSight at createqualityjobs.org.

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