The Families and Workers Fund and Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program release the Good Jobs Champions Statement

October 4, 2022 – Announcement

More than 100 leaders in business, labor, workforce development, and policy have set forth an evidence-based, shared definition of job quality as part of the Good Jobs Champions Group, an initiative of the Families and Workers Fund and the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program.

The evidence is clear—good quality jobs help families, communities, and businesses thrive, and Americans rank job quality as the most important factor of a company’s behavior. And yet, there is no common, broadly shared definition of what makes a job good, which limits action to advance good jobs. Today, the Good Jobs Champions Group, convened by the Families and Workers Fund and the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program, has released a broadly shared, widely endorsed definition of what constitutes a good job. Signed by over 100 leaders from business, labor, policy, philanthropy, academia, and workforce development, it represents a historic step forward toward a future in which all work is valued; no one working full-time lives in or near poverty; companies and workers thrive alongside each other; and diverse talent is never overlooked.

53 million full-time workers across the U.S. struggle to make ends meet, particularly women, people of color, young people, and immigrants, according to Brookings Metro. Millions more lack adequate benefits, face discrimination and harassment, and cope with other daily challenges that are the consequence of low-quality jobs. Only 44% of the U.S. workforce reports being in a good job according to Gallup.  

“Good jobs are crucial for people to live with dignity, and they are also good business – we don’t need to keep trading off one for the other,” said Maureen Conway, vice president and executive director of the Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute.

“Advancing good jobs is key for companies to both do better and be better,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “Defining what makes a good job is a critical achievement, one that will help shape an economy centered on both profits and people. Now companies must inject meaning into that definition, by investing fully in their workers, with wages, benefits, and a voice over their conditions. It’s not only the right thing to do; it’s smart business.”

The Good Jobs Champions Group definition has three main components: 1) economic stability, including family-sustaining pay; 2) economic mobility, such as through access to training and wealth-building benefits; and 3) equity, respect, and a voice in the workplace. The definition is meant to be a shared north star and a framework that companies, government at all levels, investors, and training and education institutions can use to take action. 

“Hard work should add up to a decent quality of life, but for too many that promise is broken. While a definition alone can’t fix the problem, today marks a critical step forward in centering job quality in our policies, business practices, and investment strategies.”

Rachel Korberg

Executive Director, The Families and Workers Fund

Organizations and leaders signing on to the new definition include Chipotle, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry, W.K. Kellogg Foundation President and CEO La June Montgomery Tabron, Amalgamated Bank CEO Priscilla Sims Brown, investor and Lafayette Square CEO Damien Dwin, MIT economist Paul Osterman, former Tyco Chief Human Resource Officer Laurie Siegel, and over 100 companies, nonprofits, and worker organizations.

“We must care for the people who care for us. Workers have been clear that what they need and deserve is fair pay that they can live on; access to benefits that enable a stable, healthy life and paid time off; a fair chance to get ahead; and respectful, equitable treatment,” said Ai-jen Poo, President of National Domestic Workers Alliance and national advocate for essential workers

This is a critical moment to act. The economic recovery from COVID-19 is a once-in-a-generation opening to reset the promise of work as a force for economic stability, opportunity, and equity for all. Businesses are struggling to attract and retain talent in a historically tight labor market and governments at the federal, state, and local levels are working to ensure major, recent investments in infrastructure and U.S. competitiveness help to fuel economic mobility for all, and embracing job quality principles can address both challenges. 

The Good Jobs Champions Group statement and formal definition of a “good job” is just the beginning of a renewed movement toward good jobs for all. The signatories represent leaders working across public and private sectors nationwide who recognize the urgency and potential to advance good jobs. 

You can view the full statement and reactions from some of the leaders who signed the statement here.