Objectives. The aim of this paper is to describe the development and refinement of nine measures of perceived work characteristics for use in studies of the psychological wellbeing of health services employees. The constructs measured are: autonomy/control, feedback, influence, leader support, professional compromise, role clarity, role conflict, peer support and work demands. Design. The study was a large scale cross-sectional survey. Methods. National Health Service Trust staff were selected from seven major occupational groups (nurses, doctors, administrative staff, managers, professions allied to medicine, professional and technical staff, and ancillary staff) within a sample of Trusts chosen to be representative of those in England. Questionnaires incorporating the scale items were completed by over 9,000 staff. The fit with the a priori nine-dimensional measurement model was tested using confirmatory factor analysis. Scale internal reliabilities and norms were calculated, and aspects of construct validity were examined. Results. The findings show a good fit to the measurement model for the sample as a whole and across occupational groups. All the scales exhibit acceptable internal reliabilities; and normative data is provided for all seven occupations (with norms for more specific job categories available on request). Analyses suggest good construct validity, showing the scales discriminate as anticipated across occupational groups and job categories, and they have the expected relationships with job satisfaction and psychological strain. Conclusions. The measures developed are usable for research purposes across the major occupational groups, with the possible exception of ancillary staff. Further work is desirable to confirm the measurement properties and extend the normative database.