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Nordics have the highest wellbeing, followed by U.K. and Germany

Eastern Europe sees largest regional increase globally in employee engagement despite also seeing

the largest increase in daily worry

Low employee engagement is estimated to cost the global economy $8.1 trillion yearly

London — Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report finds that the U.K. and Western Europe have the lowest employee engagement levels globally at just 11%, but the region’s employees assessed themselves as having high life evaluations (55% are thriving) and low negative emotions compared with employees in many other world regions. In fact, Western European employees saw a decline in stress and anger, no change in sadness and an increase of only three points for worry.

Globally, employee engagement decreased by two percentage points from 2019 to 2020, and Gallup estimates that low employee engagement costs the global economy $8.1 trillion. In contrast to Western Europe’s low engagement levels, Eastern Europe’s levels of engagement rose seven percentage points from 2019 to 2020, the largest regional increase in the world.

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Across Western Europe, working women (13%) were more engaged than working men (10%), while they also reported lower daily stress in 2020 (41%) than in 2019 (47%), possibly due to supportive social safety nets in many European countries, such as well-developed social systems that helped to prevent some job loss and unemployment.

The global workforce reported higher worry, stress, anger and sadness in 2020 than in the previous year. The largest increases in daily worry globally occurred in Eastern Europe (+12 points), while the percentage of younger employees in Eastern Europe experiencing daily anger doubled from 2019 to 2020. Negative emotions such as worry, stress, sadness and anger were lower in the U.K. and Germany than in Italy, Spain and France.

“The relationship between work and life has taken on new meaning this past year. Global worry, stress, sadness and anger have been trending up the past decade,” said Pa Sinyan, Managing Partner for Europe. “Even before the pandemic, the new workforce was asking for a workplace that would improve their overall life and support their wellbeing. Organizations are in a unique position to improve lives and performance simultaneously.” 

France and the U.K. were among the highest in Western Europe in terms of their employees not feeling respected at work (10% and 9%, respectively). However, this is still lower than most Eastern European countries. Thirty-two percent of employees in Lithuania, for example, do not feel respected at work.

In the U.K., 60% of workers consider themselves thriving, higher than Germany (59%), France (42%), Spain (42%) and Italy (41%) — although this was lower than the Nordic countries, which averaged 74%.

Levels of thriving during the pandemic increased by three percentage points to 44% in Eastern Europe, with Europe overall stronger than the world-average thriving level, 32%.

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