Having a full-time job no longer provides the economic security it once did. The true narrative of low-income work for many in America is one of near constant instability: intermittent work, seasonal work, variable hours, unpredictable schedules.
Such jobs not only fail to pay enough for decent food and shelter for a worker’s family, they risk health, disrupt family life, undermine dignity, and often deny the worker’s voice within the workplace, creating massive social impact. Nearly 50% of Californians are working but struggling with poverty. More than half of people receiving Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), known at CalFresh in California, are working.
Creating and growing more good jobs is essential to our community. This is about providing individuals and families with the benefits of their labor, giving them the opportunity to a higher quality of life and building a prosperous future for all.
We believe quality jobs simultaneously produce outstanding outcomes for businesses and their frontline workers. A good job provides living wages, benefits, career ladders and predictable scheduling practices coupled with opportunities for training and advancement, participation in decision making, and empowerment.
While “good jobs” require an investment, they have also been shown to reduce turnover and error costs, increase employee engagement and retention and ultimately improve a company’s operations and profitability. In short, good jobs are a competitive advantage for a company.
In recent focus groups with local service-sector workers, we learned how unpredictable, last-minute scheduling wreaks havoc in workers’ family lives. A growing body of research shows that unpredictable schedules are associated with a host of negative outcomes for workers and their children. In focus groups with employers, we have learned that providing stable schedules in the face of fluctuating customer demand can feel impossible. To address this challenge, we are convening an advisory council of local stakeholders to help us build consensus around steps we can take to foster stable schedules without jeopardizing the survival of small businesses.
We are working to help businesses create quality jobs, workers advocate for and seek out jobs that lead to economic opportunity and security, and policymakers support policies that advance the dignity of work.
- The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Job Quality Tools Library: tools to support workers and businesses during and after the Coronavirus pandemic
- What would it take to achieve quality jobs for all workers?—Urban Next50