Identifying bad jobs and improving job quality
2021 – While European-wide information on burnout is scarce, national statistics show that stress related absenteeism is on the rise, generating significant costs for firms and welfare states,
while reducing worker wellbeing. Although manifested at the individual level, burnout is an
occupational phenomenon, predicted most clearly by imbalances in job content (high workloads
and low autonomy) and the social environment at work – two under-explored aspects of job
While the economy and society as a whole would benefit from a healthier workforce, market
failures drive job quality below an optimal level, necessitating attention from policymakers.
Measuring and intervening in job content is not straightforward, however, and has not been a
main policy domain in Europe. Policy frameworks and interventions therefore tend to focus on
other areas of job quality, such as the physical and contractual working conditions.
To manage the burnout epidemic and mitigate the impact of the changing nature of work, job quality
policy needs to focus on the job-content aspects as well. Wellbeing outcomes of low job
quality, such as burnout, need to be monitored at European level and can serve to evaluate the
effectiveness of policy interventions in job quality.
Nurski, L. and M. Hoffmann (2022) ‘Beating burnout: identifying bad jobs and improving
job quality’, Policy Contribution 07/2022, Bruegel
And see the website: https://www.bruegel.org/2022/05/beating-burnout-identifying-bad-jobs-and-improving-job-quality/