Why Good Jobs Matter
With our work, we intend to make the job of the future a good job.
Bad Jobs Are Bad for Workers and Society
For millions of people who work in services such as retail stores, restaurants, call centers, daycares, and hotels, their jobs have been lousy for decades, with poverty-level wages unpredictable schedules, and few opportunities for success and growth.
These bad jobs are a major social and economic problem. Oxfam estimates that 41 million people in America are earning below $12 an hour—below the poverty threshold for a family of four, even working 40 hours a week. Many of them work in services. In 2016, the median hourly wages of the 8.79 million retail workers and the 7.36 million restaurant workers in the US were $10.37 and $9.50, respectively—again, below the poverty threshold for a family of four. Between 2009 and 2011, public assistance for working families cost taxpayers $152.8 billion annually.
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Bad Jobs Are Bad for Companies
Bad jobs are not just bad for workers and society, they are bad for companies. As described in a 2012 Harvard Business Review article, companies with bad jobs operate in a vicious cycle. Underinvestment in employees, in terms of quality and quantity, leads to operational problems and poor customer service, which then reduce sales and profits. When sales are lower, labor budgets shrink—they’re among the easiest costs to cut—and the vicious cycle continues.
Bad jobs companies incur high turnover costs. And they fail to drive improvement through their employees. This means worse customer service, higher prices, and a vicious spiral that limits the growth needed to invest more in people. As described in The Good Jobs Strategy, these companies will find it hard to compete and to adapt.
Bad Jobs Are Bad for Customers
If a company is not offering good jobs, it’s a safe bet that they are not meeting the needs of their customers, either. Just ask the employees at retail companies:
“Well, every day I think more and more that my company is just like– they don’t even deserve to exist. Like, they would trick the customer… Sometimes, there would even be rats in the basement. And we still had to sell those shirts full of rat hair. That’s just unsanitary. And they wouldn’t care...at the core.”
“Customers are angry at the under-poverty-level workers standing there in front of them ringing them up, at the under-poverty-level customer service manager… They stay in [the checkout] line so long that their ice is melting. Many of them walk off and leave full baskets.”
What is the Good Jobs Strategy?
The Good Jobs Strategy creates superior value for employees, customers, and investors by combining investment in employees with operational choices that increase their productivity, contribution, and motivation.
Leverage our tools, resources, and case studies to transform your company into one that invests in people and creates good jobs.
Additional Research & Links
New York Times
Economic Policy Institute