Being in good work is better for your health than being out of work. ‘Good work’ is defined as having a safe and secure job with good working hours and conditions, supportive management and opportunities for training and development.

There is clear evidence that good work improves health and wellbeing across people’s lives and protects against social exclusion. Conversely, unemployment is bad for health and wellbeing, as it is associated with an increased risk of mortality and morbidity.

Why employment matters to health

As adults in employment spend a large proportion of their time in work, our jobs and our workplaces can have a big impact on our health and wellbeing. In fact, employment can impact both directly and indirectly on the individual, their families and communities. Therefore, work and health-related worklessness are important public health issues, both at local and national level.

There is also evidence that shows that good quality work protects against social exclusion through the provision of:

  • income
  • social interaction
  • a core role
  • identity and purpose


Additional information

Gov.UK - Health matters: health and work

Health Foundation - Employment and unemployment

Public Health Dorset - Employment picture 2021