The economic crisis has had a dramatic and lasting impact on labour markets worldwide. The recent ILO Global Employment Trends report spelled out the damage wrought in terms of the declines in employment and consequent rise in unemployment: globally the employment-to-population ratio fell by one percentage point and unemployment rose by 27 million persons.
But what have been the impacts on the quality of work? We can shed some light on this for the 27 member countries of the European Union using a Job Quality Index (JQI) developed at the European Trade Union Institute. We first calculated the JQI based on 2005 data; see here for the findings. We have now repeated the analysis based on 2010 data; by comparing the two sets of results we can see how job quality has changed on various dimensions over the five-year period and draw some conclusions about the impact of the crisis. The full results will be available shortly as an ETUI Working Paper; here we provide Global Labour Column readers with a brief analysis of the key findings .
Measuring job quality: key features of the ETUI’s JQI
Whether one perceives one’s job as being of high or low quality depends, obviously, on a mix of both subjective and objective factors. And the mix is complex: how can, for instance, a clean and safe working environment be weighed against, say, autonomy at work or the fact that one is working the ‘right’ number of hours? The interested reader will find here a detailed description of the methodology underlying the JQI, our attempt to systematise the numerous factors impacting on job quality. For the purposes of this column the following basic features need to be borne in mind.