What Is a "Good" Job?

Through our work with companies, we know that most executives would prefer to offer good jobs. But many find it difficult to define what a good job is and how to tell whether they are offering good jobs. First, let’s see what good jobs look like from the employee’s point of view.

  • Todd Miner Talks About Good Jobs at Costco

    When Todd Miner joined Costco in 2005, he already had 12 years of experience in the meat business. Another retailer had offered him a job as a meat manager, but Todd chose a meat cutter position at Costco because the pay was $3/hr. higher and Todd had a family to take care of. Within six months, though, he was promoted to supervisor. Now, Todd is one of the three meat managers who set up the meat shop when a new Costco opens.

  • TommusRhodus is an elite author known for offering high-quality, high-value products backed by timely and personable support. Recognised and awarded by Envato on multiple occasions for producing consistently outstanding products, it's no wonder over 40,000 customers enjoy using TommusRhodus themes.

Pride, respect, ownership, good pay and benefits are all part of what makes Todd's job a good job at Costco.

How We Define Good Jobs

A good job needs to meet people’s basic needs and offer conditions for engagement and motivation. Simply providing basic needs such as a living wage and predictable schedules will not, in itself, create a motivated workforce. But failing to provide those needs is often the source of employee stress and turnover in low-wage settings. Our framework for good jobs consists of nine essential factors related to these needs. The Good Jobs Strategy enables companies to meet each of these needs.

Look at our Good Jobs Scorecard to see what key questions you should ask about each of these nine factors and how to measure them.


Our Inspiration

These nine factors are rooted in the academic literature on human motivation and work design, from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Herzberg’s Motivator-Hygiene Theory to Hackman and Oldman’s Job Characteristics Model to more recent work by Teresa Amabile, Dan Ariely, Francesca Gino, Adam Grant, and others on purpose, creativity, productivity, and motivation.

See also links to resources at MIT by our colleagues who have been studying work practices for decades.

How Do You Motivate Employees?

Frederick Herzberg

The Human Side of Enterprise

Douglas McGregor

Work at IWER

MIT colleagues

Work Redesign
Richard Hackman and Greg Oldman
Speak Up for Work

Tom Kochan

Next Steps: What Is the Good Jobs Strategy?

Learn More