Employment and Jobs

Job Quality Newsletter — Pathway to Good Jobs

December 8, 2023  • Maureen Conway

As we approach the holiday season, we at the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) are reflecting on the significance of work that brings us fulfillment and financial security. This time of year prompts us to think about how good jobs support a good life and to reflect on what it would take to extend the privilege of meaningful and secure employment to every individual.

In anticipation of a new year, we are reflecting on what we’ve learned about job quality and the opportunities ahead to make more jobs good jobs. Questions naturally arise: Can we collectively strive to ensure that every job offers not only economic stability but also dignity, purpose, and a sense of fulfillment? Can the principles that define good jobs become accessible to all?

This year, EOP delved deeply into these queries, seeking pathways to cultivate and sustain high-quality employment opportunities for everyone. We hosted insightful discussions, explored provocative ideas, and considered innovative strategies aimed at reshaping the landscape of work. From reimagining the relationship between business and labor to spotlighting initiatives that bridge the gap between job quality and small business success, each entry in this newsletter contributes to the ongoing dialogue about dignified and meaningful work.


Event: Reimagining the Business-Labor Playbook for the 21st Century

US workers are reevaluating their working conditions and rallying for change, driving a surge in worker organizing that affects businesses across sectors and regions. While many business leaders are resistant to unionization and other forms of worker empowerment, the case for fostering a positive relationship with organized workers is stronger than ever. Join us virtually tomorrow, December 8, 2023, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Eastern time, for our next event, “Reimagining the Business-Labor Playbook for the 21st Century,” where we’ll hear from a new wave of business leaders who understand the need to reimagine their relationship with organized workers and from the leader of the biggest federation of unions, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, who is ready to work with business to achieve shared prosperity. RSVP now.

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Breaking the Cycle: How Good Jobs Transform Companies

In “The Case For Good Jobs: How Great Companies Bring Dignity, Pay, and Meaning to Everyone’s Work,” author Zeynep Ton, president of the Good Jobs Institute, unveils the transformative power of fostering quality employment. Speaking at a book talk we hosted in May, Ton shared how strategic leadership in retail can break the cycle of low job quality, offering dignity and purpose to employees. Check out highlights from that discussion here and view more clips on our YouTube page.

Read the Blog


group of individuals at Shared Success convening, Aspen Institute, Washington DC

Shared Success: CDFIs Advancing Job Quality in Small Business

In this blog, I discuss the link between small business success and the quality of the jobs they create, drawing insights from a recent gathering of CDFI grantees to EOP’s Shared Success project, who discussed strategies and innovations aimed at advancing job quality and equity while bolstering the prosperity of their small business clients. Read more.




Unveiling Sustainable Pathways in the Gig Economy

This blog delves into the complex landscape of the gig economy, spotlighting the challenges faced by gig workers and the need for better standards and protections in their work. It highlights key points from our in-depth discussion featuring a diverse panel of experts, who explored the unpredictable nature of work, the lack of workplace benefits, the need for solidarity, and innovative approaches to transform this sector into one that is equitable and sustainable.




Beyond Clocking In: Understanding the Impact of Unstable Work Schedules

In our recent virtual event on stable scheduling, our panel of experts delved into the profound impact of unstable work schedules on workers’ lives, underscoring the negative repercussions on income stability, family time, and childhood well-being; and they explored potential solutions and progress towards creating more stable work environments. Check out highlights from that discussion here.