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Adding value to UK graduate labour market statistics: The creation of a non-financial composite measure of job quality - Abstract

Abstract: Recent decades have seen growing interest in the quality of employment available to citizens, with decent work for all being one of the objectives outlined in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations. Consequently, this has generated debate about how we define job quality, with the literature indicating that this is a multi-faceted concept and relates to those features of a person’s work that influence their wellbeing. In the UK, job quality is considered to consist of eighteen indicators covering seven broad dimensions. Despite this, earnings is the only recognised job quality indicator used when assessing the graduate labour market (which we show is not particularly well correlated with wellbeing). The other outcome that is often drawn upon (whether or not a graduate moves into ‘highly skilled’ employment) is generated using occupation type and is not in itself an indicator of job quality. The purpose of this paper is to expand the data available on the work undertaken by UK graduates through creating a composite measure for one of the seven components of employment quality – the ‘job design and nature of work’. This is non-financial in nature and encompasses features of work such as the extent to which it provides a sense of purpose, utilises the individual’s skills and offers progression opportunities. We illustrate how the composite variable has a positive association with wellbeing, before demonstrating how the measure can complement current statistics produced on graduate outcomes (e.g. in highlighting previously unknown inequalities in the labour market).

Keywords: Composite indicator, measuring job quality, money and earnings, wellbeing

Next: Section 1: Introduction

Tej Nathwani

Tej Nathwani

Principal Researcher (Economist)


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