The History of JVS’ Job Quality Index
Our journey started in 2017 and has seen multiple iterations, with a finalized version living in a custom designed software platform developed by Gibbs Software Solutions.
In 2017, we derived the pillars in the Index by surveying client facing JVS staff and JVS job seekers across programs. The pillars or job components that rose to the surface of these surveys were: Wages, Benefits, Scheduling, Access to Career Ladders, and Supportive Environment. The pillars also synced with work being done nationally, including the Job Design Framework by the National Fund, a well-respected resource and basis for our work in this area.
Unlike other tools, JVS’s pillars allow us to define job quality based on an individual’s definition and requirements in a job, not a broad brush descriptor. This methodology has served us well, particularly during the 2020 pandemic, when prior to children attending school over Zoom, we may have undervalued the worth of a flexible schedule or how, for example, a health care environment during a global pandemic, might play into someone’s decision to feel safe at work. In 2020, we added the sub-pillars of Safety and Diversity & Inclusion under supportive work environment as these are important elements of feeling engaged and supported at work.
Our survey is designed to provide an immediately understandable overview on multiple pillars deemed valuable by our job seekers. Once the questions were written, we assembled a group of internal experts and scored the answers to each question according to national data, research, job seeker feedback, best practices from the field, employer feedback and evidence from the field. The scores roll up into a score for each pillar and then a final score, upon which the “Job Quality Profile” component of the Summary report is derived.
After testing the survey and reporting mechanisms, we piloted the survey with a handful of employers. Initially, we had asked them to answer the survey based on all entry level roles, but we quickly realized the difficulty this presented as not all entry-level jobs are the same. For example, a hospital pharmacy technician and a food service worker – while both considered “entry level” – have a dramatic pay differential and very different scheduling structures. Therefore, we determined it was best to compare apples to apples – and asked companies to answer the survey based on one position. Feedback from each of these steps has helped us to make improvements to the index.
On an annual basis, JVS will have the opportunity to make improvements to the index. We plan to annually review our scoring mechanism and evaluate it with our users, experts in the field, licensees and other partners to ensure that it is keeping pace with the changing times.