There is a widespread perception that many of the new jobs being created in Europe are ‘bad jobs’. Increasingly workers are being asked, or forced, to work longer and/or more ‘unsocial’ hours, and to accept fixed-term and other ‘precarious’ contracts. Employers are widely seen as being more short-term in orientation, cutting back on investing in training the workforce, offering limited career trajectories and employee benefits and being less open to engage with collective forms of worker interest representation. Is it the case, then, that ‘more jobs’ has been at the cost of ‘better jobs’? Is there a conflict of goals at work? To answer such questions an indicator of job quality that is comprehensive, comparable, European in scope and timely is needed.

The ETUI seeks to contribute to this aim by creating a European Job Quality Index (JQI). The European JQI is compiled on the basis of six sub-indices that capture different aspects of job quality: wages, non-standard forms of employment, work-life balance and working time, working conditions and job security, access to training and career advancement, and collective interest representation and participation.

This working paper describes the choice of data and variables as well as the data processing, and it details a number of important data restrictions and caveats that need to be taken into account when interpreting the results of the JQI.

The ETUI Job Quality Index is intended as an important and ongoing contribution to the debate about ‘more and better jobs’ in Europe.

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Putting a number on job quality? Constructing a European Job Quality Index_2008