Job quality in European employment policy: one step forward, two steps back?

This article analyses the development and use of the concept ‘job quality’ in European Union (EU) employment policy. Using a set of complementary public policy theories, it examines how both political and conceptual factors contributed to the failure to achieve any significant progress in articulating job quality in the EU’s policy objectives and guidelines. Conceptual clarity in defining what job quality is (and what it is not), from whose perspective it should be considered, and which direction of change indicates improvement, are vital prerequisites for an effective integration of job quality into the EU’s employment strategy and into the elaboration of any successful social indicator. A constant political struggle between different stakeholders at EU level, and a need to reconcile the often-contradictory views of the social partners, has precluded the completion of this first step. Instead, attempts to include job quality into the policy formulation process were made without simultaneously adapting the overall narrative, which continued to give prominence to flexibility and deregulation. The outcome has been a rather cursory and inconsistent effort to implement policies and actions aimed at boosting job quality.


Author(s) A. Piasna, B. Burchell, K. Sehnbruch
Language English
Year of publication Mar, 2019
Journal Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research
Volume, Number 25, 1
Page(s) 16
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