Improving job quality metrics to inform U.S. Good Jobs policies

Our presentation at the International Labour Organization's Regulating Decent Work conference
Published: 08.30.2023 Updated: 08.31.2023

As the country emerged from the worst of the pandemic, the federal government provided a set of Good Jobs Principles to inform policymakers’ and employers’ efforts to improve job quality and create access to good jobs free from discrimination and harassment. ​

To inform these efforts, Pamela Joshi, policy research director for, contributed several recommendations to build an equity-focused research infrastructure to measure and monitor job quality as part of the Families and Workers’ Fund Job Quality Measurement Initiative.

Joshi and colleagues then followed up with a comprehensive review of all employment-focused federal surveys to assess what data there is to build on; what’s missing and for which groups; and what can be done about it. She recently presented these findings at the International Labour Organization’s eighth Regulating for Decent Work Conference.

There are four key findings. First, surveys only consistently capture two aspects of good jobs—pay and benefits—and there is scattered information on working conditions, worker voice and discrimination. This limited national data infrastructure is one reason behind all of the new and uncoordinated job quality data collection efforts. Second, federal surveys do not measure most underserved and protected groups identified in federal law and policy. Third, federal surveys do not generally have the capacity to measure job quality for working families, hindering analyses on whether jobs provide enough to support healthy child development. And finally, there is no comprehensive source of information about the full range of employer-sponsored benefits and whether workers can actually use them, and the measures of diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the workplace are woefully inadequate. Joshi and colleagues also provide several recommendations to improve federal surveys' job quality measurement and equity analyses.

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Headshot of Pamela Joshi
Pamela Joshi
Policy Research Director