What Constitutes a Good Job?

What Constitutes a Good Job?

A century ago, Henry Ford was purported to have said “Why is it that whenever I want a pair of hands, I get a human being as well”.

It is doubtful whether Henry’s attitude towards the workforce would yield him the required labour if he was operating in today’s employment market. Gone are the days when employers could choose from a long list of applicants without regard for candidates’ requirements. These days the question of what constitutes a good job is equally applicable to those who are hiring as well as those seeking employment. To be successful in attracting employees, it pays to identify what aspirations and needs prospective candidates are likely to have and then to cater for these requirements as best you can.

A good starting point to understanding what constitutes a good job for others is to reflect on your own requirements in a job. To do so, however is only a starting point. It is crucial to recognise the enormous variation in workplace requirements between individuals, and which may be influenced by their age, stage in life, level of introversion/extroversion, ability to cope with stress, need for stimulation etc.

The following checklist may be useful for job hunters and employers alike to identify and evaluate factors which may contribute to a job rated as “Good” or “Bad”: –

  • Job security
  • An appropriate level of challenge (Excessive challenge can lead to stress)
  • Opportunity to learn new skills
  • Opportunity for career development
  • Opportunity to be creative
  • Presence (or absence) of social interaction
  • Presence or absence of stress (many people regard moderate stress positively, as stimulation)
  • A collaborative work environment
  • Level of responsibility
  • Level of authority
  • Opportunity to be mentored or to mentor
  • Work life balance
  • Workplace flexibility (Flexible hours and/or the ability to work from home)
  • Congruence of company values with personal values
  • Meaningful work and/or a positive contribution to society or the world

There will always be companies that echo Henry Ford’s complaint and whose leaders insist on designing loveless jobs built around conformity, but if you believe, as many do, that an organisation’s success is directly attributable to the talent it is able to attract, then those organisations who understand and endeavour to cater for worker’s needs should achieve a competitive edge in sourcing talent.      

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