Have employees in the Nordics become demotivated?

Merel Wijnands

Since 2008, the words economic recession have been in such frequent use that it is hard to go a day without coming into contact with them. The World Bank produced a recent report 1, that predicts that the Global economy is at a turning point, and that 2014 could be a year for stronger economic growth. Current estimates for 2014 for the Nordics paint a fairly positive picture, as the GDP of Denmark, Norway,2 Finland and Sweden is forecasted to grow 3. It appears then, that for the moment, the Nordics are firmly headed (slowly) out of the economic recession.

With this in mind, Effectory International has used our Global Employee Engagement Index™ to explore how the last few years of the economic recession have affected employee motivation in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Have employees in the Nordics become demotivated?

Global Employee Engagement Index™

The Global Employee Engagement Index™ is a global employee survey conducted by Effectory International that surveys the work-related opinions of employees in 52 different countries. Respondents are asked more than 100 questions each in order for Effectory International to gain a detailed insight into global work-opinions. From the data collected, Effectory International also creates a benchmarking tool that compares 52 different countries on 17 key HR variables (including employee engagement).

» Learn how the Global Employee Engagement Index can benefit your organisation

Employee Motivation

Using the data from our forthcoming and previous global employee surveys, we have compared the motivation levels of employees in Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden and found the following conclusions:


  • Employee motivation in Denmark has increased over the last 3 years and, employees in Denmark continue to score highly in contrast with the European average.
  • Whilst the motivation levels of employees in Denmark has increased, Denmark’s overall rank for employee motivation in Europe fell from 5th (2011/12) to 9th (2013/14).


  • Our research shows that the high level of employee motivation in Norway has remained unchanged from 2011/12 to 2013/2014.
  • Despite the level of employee motivation remaining the same, Norway’s rank for employee motivation in Europe fell from 1st (2011/12) to 3rd (2013/14).


  • In Finland, employee motivation has also followed the general trend of increasing in the last 2 years, although it still continues to score lower when compared to the European average.
  • Finland’s comparatively low employee motivation is also reflected in their rank for employee motivation in Europe, as they continue to be to be ranked with some of the lowest scoring countries in Europe.


  • Motivation levels in Swedish employees followed those of Denmark and Finland in increasing, and furthermore continued to score highly in contrast with the European average.
  • Surprisingly, Sweden was the only country out of the 4 Nordic countries that moved up in rank for employee motivation in Europe, as it rose from 8th (2011/12) to 5th (2013/14).
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1 WorldBank (2014): www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/01/14/developing-economies-need-robust-blueprints-to-sustain-growth
2 OECD Better Life Index: www.oecd.org/eco/outlook/norwayeconomicforecastsummary.htm
3 European Commission Autumn forecast (2013). http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/eu/forecasts/2013_autumn_forecast_en.htm

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