The UK ranks 10th in the world for workplace happiness, according to a study by employee engagement organisation Engaging Works.
More than 10,000 employees have been surveyed globally by Engaging Works since its launch in October 2017. Using the data compiled, the organisation has calculated an average happiness score for each country, published in its State of the nation: An annual review of job satisfaction report in January 2019.
The scale used reaches from zero to 10, with 10 being the highest possible score. Austria ranks highest for happiness at work, according to the study, with a score of 7.67 compared with the UK’s 6.43.
Second on the list is Belgium (7.65), followed by neighbours the Netherlands (7.18) and Germany (7.02), with Poland (6.95) completing the top five.
Also ahead of the UK are France (6.95), Australia (6.69), Spain (6.62) and the US (6.59). Ireland (5.75) sits below the UK in 11th place.
According to the report, the UK scores above the global average for information sharing, development and having sufficient resources, but below the average for pride in the organisation, feeling respected, fairly rewarded, views being heard, doing something worthwhile and workplace relationships.
Lord Mark Price, founder of Engaging Works, said: “What is perhaps most striking is that eight of the countries which sit ahead of the UK in 10th place also sit above the UK for productivity, where the UK is a global laggard.
“In a post-Brexit, free-market, open-trading world, improving our productivity through having a more engaged and happier workforce will become even more vital if we are to become globally competitive.
“The more the government can do to promote the happiness and wellbeing of the workforce, the richer we will be as a country.”
Beyond country boundaries, from 2017 to 2018 employees globally increased their average happiness at work score from 6.08 to 6.49.
The survey also tracked employees’ scores in specific areas feeding into happiness at work. The global average for employees feeling they are being developed at work, for example, rose from 5.62 in 2017, to 6.18 in 2018. However, the feeling of being appropriately rewarded globally dropped from 6.29 to 6.16 over the course of the year.
When split along gender lines, female and male respondents score similarly for happiness across the globe, with 6.5 and 6.47 respectively.
Those in management roles tend to be happier, with a score of 6.34 in 2017, compared with non-management’s 5.68. This gap has closed slightly in the year since, however, and now stands at 6.53 and 6.44.
In 2017, employees aged above 35 and those aged below 35 had almost identical average happiness scores, at 6.09 and 6.06, respectively. However, in 2018, those above 35 appear to have been happier (6.64) than those below (6.32). This distance increases when considering pride in the organisation, which sits at 6.48 for employees under 35 in 2018, and at 7.35 for those above.
The 2018 results also found that younger employees are less likely to feel appropriately rewarded for their work (5.89) or that their employer cares for their wellbeing (5.98), while those higher up the age range scored 6.43 and 6.29 in these categories.