Recently, news outlets have reported on the large number of companies struggling to hire workers despite record numbers of job openings. Many cite government-issued financial assistance as an incentive for people to remain unemployed during the pandemic. However, the jobs employers are offering frequently don’t match changing worker needs. Having experienced low pay, poor job security, and high risk of COVID-19 infection—and none more so than minority racial and ethnic groups—many workers are now looking for higher-quality jobs.

Employers who want to be successful in hiring efforts, particularly where diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are concerned, will benefit from understanding how workers and workforce-oriented organizations define a high-quality job. Finding ways to incorporate good job qualities into roles they need to fill is key to standing out in a tight labor market.

Components of a High-Quality Job

Many think of high-paying jobs as quality jobs, but pay is only one part of the picture. Workers also want to feel that they are valued and that their loyalty to a company will be reciprocated. Meeting this demand requires employers to avoid viewing employees as disposable commodities and start investing in making work more holistically rewarding.

This can be accomplished by considering important aspects of how staff members experience their work lives as well as their essential needs for general well-being. Employers should then implement the following characteristics:

  • A living wage, which is pay that provides a stable income, covers essential living expenses, and offers opportunities to build wealth.
  • Stable, predictable work hours. A regular schedule empowers workers to plan ahead and commit to events in their personal lives. It gives them dignity and control, reduces stress, and helps to promote good work/life balance.
  • Physically and psychologically safe working conditions in which undue hazards, discrimination, and harassment are eliminated and workers’ input for improvement is encouraged.
  • Benefits that help workers live healthy, secure lives. These include health insurance, paid sick leave and vacation time, family or medical leave, a retirement savings plan, disability insurance, and life insurance.
  • Opportunities to learn new skills and progress in a career. Professional development workshops and on-the-job training add considerable value to any role, but even more to entry-level positions. These programs convey the message that employers care about workers’ futures.

How the Majority of Jobs in America Currently Stack Up

A recent Gallup poll indicates that 60% of American jobs are currently considered of mediocre or poor quality. As of 2019, 46.5 million Americans had jobs whose median pay was under $15 per hour, which is well below the poverty line in all 50 states. Add this to the fact that low-income workers typically receive fewer benefits, work more unpredictable schedules, and face more occupational hazards—including the risk of COVID-19 infection—and the reasons for the current labor shortage in the US may become more clear to employers.

What Does Creating High-Quality Jobs Look Like?

It’s important to remember that high-quality jobs exist on a spectrum, and employers may not be able to offer all of the recommended elements at once. However, they can start by making a plan and working on short-term and long-term goals for improving job quality—some of which cost nothing. Here are some steps for creating better jobs:

  • Establish a job quality framework. Decide what your related goals are and how you will implement them. Don’t forget to include ways to address diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Authentically communicate to your employees that you value them. Work toward creating a healthy company culture that encourages constructive worker input, promotes equity, eliminates discrimination and harassment, has a positive atmosphere, and fosters emotional intelligence. This will enhance work life quality and build trust among staff members.
  • Invest in benefit programs, professional development programs, and other quality-of-life perks. Assess your current budget and how you can use it to maximize employee benefits. Creativity can be useful in this effort.

Recruit High-Performing Employees with High-Quality Jobs

Ready to crack the tight labor market? Partner with JobTrain to create and fill high-quality jobs. If you live near Silicon Valley in northern California, you can visit one of JobTrain’s four affiliated career centers. Don’t miss JobTrain’s BRIDGE 2022 Forum & Awards on March 2, 2022, a virtual event that encourages employers to create programs that improve hiring practices around diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace. This year’s theme is “Quality Jobs,” Defining a Quality Job and Paving the Way to Get There. The event will include an expert panel, employer led breakout session and awards ceremony recognizing employers who are doing right be their employees.

JobTrain is an accredited educational and training institution that transforms lives and communities in Silicon Valley. JobTrain helps the Valley’s most in need reclaim their lives from poverty and unemployment by preparing them for successful, sustainable careers in high-demand and emerging fields.

Each of JobTrain’s programs combines vocational training, academics, and essential skills development, preparing students to turn their lives around—from unemployment and poverty to success and self-sufficiency. Contact us today to learn more!