Job quality
Not all work is protective of health. Some analysis shows that poor quality employment is as bad for health as unemployment

Key stats

of all employees report their health as less than good. Employees with low job security and low job satisfaction are most likely to report poor health.
of employees with three or more aspects of low-quality work report less than good work, compared to 6% of employees who experience none.
1 in 3
employees experience at least two negative aspects of job quality.
of employees report low job autonomy.

While unemployment is associated with worse health outcomes, not all work is necessarily protective of health. Indeed, some analysis shows that poor quality employment is as bad for health as unemployment. The nature of jobs varies massively: in terms of pay, but also the hazards faced, the level of security, control and autonomy over the job and the support offered to the worker.

The charts in this section explore the relationship between job quality and health, as well as trends and inequalities in job quality.

Relationship between job quality and health


Relationship between low-quality jobs and health


Those with low job security or low job satisfaction are twice as likely to report less than good...


Relationship between number of negative job aspects and health


The proportion of employees who report ‘less than good’ (fair or poor) health increases as people...

Trends and inequalities in job quality


Trends in the number of negative job aspects that people experience


Just over two in five employees (44.1%) experienced at least one negative aspect of job quality in...


Trends in low job quality


Half of all employees report low job autonomy as the most prevalent measure of negative job quality,...


Proportion of people in low-quality work by region, ethnicity, age, and sex


Low-quality work is most prevalent in Wales, Northern Ireland, the North East and the urban West...


Duration of low-quality work


Nearly a quarter (22.8%) of employees in a low-quality job in 2012/13 were still working in a...

Explore other subtopics within Work
Employment and unemployment
This relates to people wanting but lacking paid employment, or people in employment looking for additional hours
Job security
This relates to confidence in the continued existence of a job or hours of work

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Health inequalities

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This is part of Evidence hub: What drives health inequalities?

Data, insights and analysis exploring how the circumstances in which we live shape our health
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