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To what extent a “bad” job? Employee perceptions of job quality in community aged care

Marilyn Clarke (Adelaide Business School, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 9 February 2015




The purpose of this paper is to explore how community aged care workers evaluate job quality using a job quality framework.


The study uses a qualitative approach. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews and focus groups from a large aged care organisation.


Perceptions of job quality are influenced by individual motivations, match between life-stage and work flexibility, as well as broader community views of the value of this type of work. Intrinsic factors (e.g. autonomy, job content) moderate the impact of extrinsic factors such as pay and job security.

Research limitations/implications

The sample is relatively small and the study is based on data from one aged care organisation which may not reflect employment conditions in other organisations.

Practical implications

Attraction and retention of community care workers can be improved by addressing factors associated with remuneration (including employment contracts and hours of work) and career structures. Skill and experience-based career structures would help build organisational capacity as well as making these jobs more attractive.

Social implications

The demand for community care will continue to increase. Attracting, retaining and managing this workforce will be critical to meeting society’s expectations regarding the future care needs of older people.


This research explores an under-researched workforce group in a critical area of aged care management. It highlights two key areas with the potential to improve employee perceptions of job quality and therefore address issues related to attraction, retention, job satisfaction and ultimately organisational performance.



Clarke, M. (2015), "To what extent a “bad” job? Employee perceptions of job quality in community aged care", Employee Relations, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 192-208.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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