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Labour market preferences of retrenched Australian auto industry workers for job quality and meaningful work

Jacob Irving (presenter), Akshay Vij, Lynette Washington, Sally Weller and Ilke Onur


This study uses Stated Preference (SP) experiments to examine labour market preferences of 309 workers retrenched by the Australian automotive industry for different non-pecuniary job attributes denoting job quality and meaningfulness. We find that autonomy, and employer reputation for good work policies and practices, are the two most important non-pecuniary job attributes, with compensating wage differentials of roughly $5 per hour for greater autonomy and better employer reputation. Job security and skill utilisation are also important, but less so, with compensating wage differentials between $1 and $3 per hour for greater security and fewer training requirements. We find that workers’ strongest preference is not for a particular type of work, but rather for a particular type of employer, suggesting that labour market policy might pay more attention to regulating the quality of workplaces.