What does a quality job really look like ?

Traits to look for when researching career opportunities in mountain towns

Have you ever heard a friend raving about how they just got a ‘good job,’ or have you ever wondered what a boss would say if they were asked to describe a “good job” at their company? It’s safe to assume most employees or employers would jump to the salary details when talking about a ‘good job.’ Yet, MIT’s Good Jobs Institute asserts that “simply providing basic needs such as a living wage and predictable schedules will not, in itself, create a motivated workforce.” So this begs the question: what does a good job actually look like? Mountain Careers did some digging to arm both job seekers and employers with the right tools and information. Here’s what we found when it comes to job quality in the mountains.

The Aspen Institute defines a ‘quality job’ as offering:

  • Wages sufficient to cover basic living expenses, a stable/predictable income, and opportunities to build wealth/assets;
  • Working conditions that are safe, free from discrimination and harassment, and welcoming of workers’ concerns and ideas for improvement;
  • Stable/predictable work hours; and
  • A package of benefits that facilitate a healthy, stable life. Typically, these benefits include health insurance, paid sick and vacation time, family/medical leave, an adequate retirement savings plan, disability insurance, and life insurance.

These are the absolute bare necessities. If you see an opportunity that does not offer all of these, that may not be the wisest opportunity to pursue. Now, everyone has their own unique set of circumstances that help weigh the tradeoffs of any professional decision.

But, in some fashion, these 4 key traits of a quality job are crucial to sustainable success in any profession. When it comes to landing a job in mountain towns like Vail, Colorado, or Jackson, Wyoming, it’s also important to know who is hiring and what specific qualities help candidates stand out. Mountain town careers often offer hidden perks like powder days and endless adventures, a surplus of fresh air, and real opportunities to influence one’s community. 

Once a quality job meets the bare necessities outlined above, how does it transcend and become an exceptional job?

That all comes down to the why. Citing MIT’s Good Jobs Institute again, there are 5 core elements that can take any quality job to the next level:

  • Meaningfulness in the work itself and its significance to the employee performing the work as well as the customer receiving value from the work
  • Personal growth opportunities within the scope of the work can stimulate an individual’s learning, creativity, problem-solving, and overall maturation as a well-rounded person
  • Belonging fosters pride, camaraderie, and respect for an individual’s place within a company and team
  • Achievement is only possible if the individual is granted the tools, time, resources, and autonomy to perform great work
  • Recognition is ever-so critical for sustainable success, especially in environments with high expectations

Whether we liked it or not, the pandemic forced us all to look inward and ask tough questions that perhaps we’d been avoiding for years. As the professional landscape continues its seismic shift amidst the Great Resignation, it’s important now more than ever that job candidates have a clear understanding of what a  quality job actually looks like, and for employers to actively build these features into their operating DNA. This is why Mountain Careers is proud to work with top employers in renowned mountain towns across Colorado, California, Montana, and more.

We know that having a good job is about so much more than just the paycheck. Resources like this help educate all sides of the hiring process on how to cultivate the quality jobs that we all deserve!