OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers

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This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected labour market and social policy studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.


Measures of Job Satisfaction

What Makes a Good Job? Evidence from OECD Countries

Most taxonomies of "good jobs" and "bad jobs" are centred around pay and hours of work. This paper uses uses information on 7 000 workers in OECD countries (emanating from the 1989 wave of the International Social Survey Programme) to complement traditional measures of job quality with workersupplied information regarding a wide variety of characteristics of the current job. The responses to twenty different questions are collapsed into six summary variables measuring workers’ evaluations of:

  • Pay;
  • Hours of work;
  • Future Prospects (promotion and job security);
  • How hard or difficult the job is;
  • Job content: interest, prestige and independence; and
  • Interpersonal relationships (with co-workers and with management).

An advantage of asking workers about these job attributes is that many of them, such as interpersonal relationships, job interest and job difficulty, are not measurable in the way that income and hours are. Another is that items may not have a linear relationship ...

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