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Shades of grey : understanding job quality in emerging graduate occupations

Okay-Somerville, Belgin and Scholarios, Dora (2013) Shades of grey : understanding job quality in emerging graduate occupations. Human Relations, 66 (4). pp. 555-585. ISSN 0018-7267

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This study examines job quality for university graduates employed in intermediately skilled (emerging) and traditional graduate occupations. Skills policies largely assume that increasing the supply of skilled labour generates sufficient demand in terms of appropriate jobs, but job quality in emerging occupations and the effects on graduates’ attitudes and well-being, have yet to be established. The role of job quality (defined in terms of skills use, job content, job security, and pay) was examined in a sample drawn from the 2006 UK Skills Survey. Graduates in emerging occupations reported lower use of ‘graduateness’ skills, job control, opportunities for skill use, and pay. In turn, job quality explained lower job satisfaction and organisational commitment. The defining features of a ‘good’ graduate job related to intrinsic job content. The findings highlight the importance of employer practices and skills policies which better utilise and develop the highly skilled workforce.