Work perception worldwide

Josje Hoek

Since 2008, the years have been fairly turbulent in economic terms, and the forecasts suggest that we’ll be facing equally stormy times in the years to come. From that perspective, the survey from 2011-2012 revealed a striking result: the average score on engagement worldwide is no less than a 7.2. Despite the uncertainty that dominates – in certain sectors and some countries more than others – this constitutes a grade of far more than “satisfactory”. Employees are showing that they are engaged in their work.


If we look at the continents,our global employee survey shows that Europe and Australia score slightly above average with a 7.3, and the USA and Canada together score exactly the average of 7.2. At 6.8 Asia scores the lowest, with Japan pushing down the average significantly with a weak 5.8. The countries that really stand out in terms of employee engagement are Bulgaria, Mexico and India. Algeria, Egypt and South Africa, the only countries on the African continent that took part in the survey, have diverse scores: 7.5, 7.2 and 7.7, respectively.

What influences engagement?

The most important influencers – on the basis of calculated correlations – of engagement worldwide are pride, confidence, working pleasure, challenge in the work and possibilities for development. If employees evaluate these points negatively, you immediately see it reflected in their scores on engagement. The same applies for a good assessment, which has a positive effect on engagement.

For the different continents, the points of special attention for engagement are some what divided. In Europe, you see that confidence in the management and the future is lower, and that negatively influences engagement. European employees do, however, experience a great deal of working pleasure and even find their work meaningful. In North America, the satisfaction with immediate colleagues, and the motivation by them, is a point of particular concern, but pride is amply present.

Asia has to struggle with little working pleasure, few challenges and low pride, but Asian personnel do see many possibilities for development. In Australia, the workload reduces the fitness and health of the employees and doesn’t give them enough energy. In South America employees are proud and they know what they have to do, but reducing the workload would produce more engaged employees. South Africa does not do well in terms of working conditions and confidence in job security, although employees are very proud and think they have enough opportunities to develop their career.