February 2024

What makes a job better? Survey evidence from job changers

Katherine Lim and Mike Zabek


Changes in pay and benefits alone incorrectly predict self-assessed changes in overall job quality 30 percent of the time, according to survey evidence from job changers. Job changers also place more emphasis on their interest in their work than they do on pay and benefits in evaluating whether their new job is better. Parents particularly emphasize work-life balance, and we find some indications that mothers value it more than fathers. Improvements in pay are highly correlated with improvements in other amenities for workers with less education but not for workers with a bachelor's degree or more. The higher positive correlation implies that differences in pay and benefits understate differences in total job quality to a greater degree among workers with less education.

Keywords: Job quality, Amenities, Surveys, Employment

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2024.004

PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: February 02, 2024