The Value of Being Employed - Fr James Grant Foundation.

Let’s Look At The Value Of Being Employed

The value of being employed is so much more than the pay packet at the end of a working week, with studies showing the impact of having a job goes far beyond finances to mental, social and physical well-being. It extends to the way we view ourselves, defines a position in society and affects more than just the job seeker, impacting their family.


In the Western world, being employed is an essential key to our culture. Income gains you access to the latest mod-cons – the car, the flat screen television and the newest iPhone. Critically it gets you a foot in the door when it comes to necessities like a rental property, food each week, or a mortgage on your own home.

At its most basic, employment determines “the haves and the have-nots” – defining one’s economic value in a consumer-driven society.


But being employed goes far beyond what we own and where we live, with esteem determined by the employment we hold.

As noted in the joint study Realising the Health Benefits of Work, a well-recognised benefit of employment is the sense of self-worth it provides as a contributor to society, a provider and an achiever. It is the yardstick by which we measure our position and our ranking in the world.

It is the way in which we gauge our contribution to society as a whole. In the Australian Psychological Society paper on Work and Unemployment, authors noted for youth, being employed is a rite of passage into the adult world.

“For young people, the gaining of employment, particularly in a position which is valued and involving, symbolically represents entry into a mature, adult world of responsibilities, freedom and respect. Entry into this adult world is more difficult for those who have not been able to make this symbolic transition to paid work and the adult world it represents.”


With employment occupying so many of our waking hours, a job is also a vital means of connecting with others. It is the place where we meet friends, socialise, share interests and spend our time. Our job provides part of our greater social network.

Mental health

It follows that an absence of employment, “perceived value” and access to social contacts affects mental health, with numerous studies noting the dire consequences unemployment has, causing anxiety over finances, friction in relationships and depression.

While all sectors of society are affected by unemployment, for youth it sets up their prospects for life, with a job affording them access to the world of adulthood, success and esteem.

In fact, while a steady job boosts self-worth and long-term employment prospects in the future, a lack of employment has the polar opposite impact.

“…for young people, in particular, research suggests that unemployment leads to a range of psychological problems including depression, anxiety and low self-esteem,” the Health Benefits of Work study notes.

The physical impact

The authors continue it’s a small leap for mental health problems to extend into the physical.

“These psychological problems may, in turn, have consequences for physical health, via an association with negative lifestyle choices including heavy tobacco, alcohol and drug use, as well as higher mortality from suicide or accident.”

Future impact

Unemployment is not only felt now, but into the future, and the legacy of unemployment lasts beyond the job seeker, according to the Health Benefits of Work study.

“The negative impacts of remaining away from work do not only affect the absent worker; families including the children of parents out of work, suffer consequences including poorer mental and physical health, decreased educational opportunities, and reduced long term employment prospects.”

What we do

The Father James Grant Foundation provides viable pathways for young people to access fulfilling employment. We partner with business to provide skills, work experience and confidence that enhances job prospects. To learn more about this groundbreaking initiative and be part of the employment solution, see here.

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