Divisions in Job Quality in Northern Ireland

In recent years, there has been increased recognition that when assessing the state of the labour market it is important to pay attention to not just the quantity of jobs, but also the quality of jobs.

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This has come about as a result of widespread agreement that a sole focus on how many jobs an economy has offers only a partial perspective, with a growing consensus that an understanding of the quality of jobs is also required.

This paper aims to examine and profile the quality of jobs in Northern Ireland and to assess divisions in job quality, amongst those in employment.

Using data from the Poverty and Social Exclusion Northern Ireland survey, this paper will use the OECDs recently developed multi-dimensional conceptualisation of job quality to assess the quality of jobs in Northern Ireland. It will also look at in-work progression (and regression) over time in terms of the skills used, the variety of tasks performed and the level of responsibility. From here the paper moves to examine the impact of poor job quality for a number of individual health and well-being outcomes.

Overall, the paper provides greater clarity on the quality of jobs in Northern Ireland, whilst also helping to establish an understanding of both the determinants and the impact of poor job quality for individuals.

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