What is a "good" Job? An Analysis of the Experiences of Unemployed Slovenians

Activity: Talk or presentationLecture and oral contribution


In international institutions and in the academic world, the quality of jobs has become a key issue. The profusion of expressions ("good jobs", "decent work", "sustainable", "suitable", etc.) testifies to the liveliness of the debates, which nevertheless converge towards the objective of defining minimum quality standards. We contribute to these reflections starting from the experience of the unemployed: from the vantage point of the unemployed people, what do they consider to be a good or bad job? Based in in-depth interview with 15 unemployed people in Slovenia, we seek to explore ideas and visions about what a good job is, as well as we seek to identify dynamics that shape such ideas. Our findings show that while searching for a job, unemployed people are directly confronted with the prospect of revising - and lowering - their professional expectations (in terms of professional field, salary, geography, etc.). This generates dilemmas as unemployed people are often not in a position to compare several job opportunities simultaneously, but have to choose in a situation of uncertainty (will a future offer be better?). Our analysis of these trade-offs considers the social characteristics of the unemployed interviewed and the Slovenian context shaping the unemployment experience and also what is conceived of as a good job. Finally, we discuss the implications of including concepts such as 'good jobs' in the unemployment research and point to potential ethical dilemmas involved in this. Is a job good, as long as an unemployed person thinks it is good?
Period2 Sep 2021
Event title15th European Sociological Association conference: Sociological knowledges for alternative futures
Event typeConference
Conference number15
LocationBarcelona, Spain
Degree of RecognitionInternational