Main recommendations

We have now published a video summarising the key findings and recommendations. This is also followed by expert commentary by Gail Irvine (Carnegie Trust UK), Magdalena Soffia (What Works Centre for Wellbeing), and Jonny Gifford (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development). This post covers the highest level recommendations, which are:

  1. The Good Work agenda must continue to emphasise the nature of work

The findings of our research reiterate the notion that improving the quality of work is more than eliminating ‘bad work’ – intrinsic factors still matter. Our project reveals that the well-known divide between occupations and classes in terms of pay and security broadly extend to more intrinsic factors too. Disparities in intrinsic factors need to be given the attention they deserve if fostering high levels of wellbeing at work is to be an organisational and policy goal.

  1. Make visible job quality by publishing national statistics by detailed occupation

Given the quality of work is highly differentiated by occupation and increasingly so, we believe that the Office for National Statistics or other visible government authority should publish job quality statistics by detailed occupation. Very poor job quality is often concentrated in small labour market pockets. Such statistics can inform policy-makers what sort of jobs to grow and help workers make more informed career decisions.

  1. Increase support for retraining and career changes

We recommend increasing support for upward occupational mobility. This may involve retraining, especially for those in disappearing occupations. Upward mobility is generally good for wellbeing, so is an avenue worth exploring from this perspective, as well as a skills perspective.

On the other hand, we also need more support for those experiencing downward mobility because they are particularly vulnerable to experiencing a long-term decline in wellbeing. Employers may consider finding ways for the downwardly mobile to make the most of their prior experience and abilities. In the long term, general upgrading of the occupational quality structure is likely to be key because as the number of low-quality jobs declines, the risk of downward mobility will also decline.

  1. Greater worker control over work as well as workplaces

Finally, our project reveals that organisations have a big role to play in facilitating employee wellbeing through job design which can help prevent anxiety, depression, and create positive working environments – for all occupations. The Taylor Review rightfully recommended workplace policies such as stronger participation, representation, and consultation. We recommend that these policies should be supplemented with a more job-level focus, giving workers a greater say in how they do their job as well as how their organisations are run, taking into considerations of the nature of the occupations at workplace. Such an approach is likely to see greater improvements in job-related wellbeing.

A research brief summarising the findings and recommendations can be accessed here.

Back to blog