Promotion of the quality of work relationships and career paths has become a key element in modernisation of the European social model.
The Lisbon Agenda, as well as the Conclusions of the Nice and Stockholm EU Summits, stressed the importance of this dimension in the strategy for movement to full employment, highlighting a need for the creation of not only more, but also better jobs. At the same time, the focus on the quality of employment has increased in the political agendas of both international organisations (International Labour Organisation, ILO) and the governments of developed countries.
Job quality is a multi-faceted concept. One the one hand, quality of work is related to objective characteristics such as working conditions and the matching of worker profiles and job requirements. On the other hand, job quality deals with subjective evaluation of the job–worker match. According with the definition of quality of work and employment proposed by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working conditions, there are four main objectives that should be pursued in the promotion of quality of work:
- ensuring career and employment security;
- maintaining and promoting the health and wellbeing of workers;
- developing skills and competence; and (iv) reconciling working and personal life.