Globoforce and IBM polled 22,000 employees across all job types in 43 countries to produce some interesting figures.
It can be easy to look outward for prospects and fall into a ‘grass is greener on the other side’ mentality. This is especially true in Ireland, where the legacy of recession-related austerity still looms and young professionals are still emigrating in their droves.
A study released by Globoforce and IBM, which analysed figures provided by the 2016 WorkTrends survey, has endeavoured to quantify which countries offer the best quality of working life globally.
The figures were based on results from 43 countries and territories across a number of industries. Using these results, research institutes affiliated with both Globoforce and IBM developed a new employee experience index (EEI).
The index measured five elements that contribute to workplace satisfaction: belonging, purpose, achievement, happiness and vigour (defined as ‘energy or enthusiasm at work’).
The study recommended that organisations need to have “effective leaders and managers” who can provide “a high level of clarity and direction”. These effective managers, according to Globoforce and IBM’s analysis, should focus on the workplaces practices that “drive positive employee experiences”.
These practices were listed as: organisational trust; supportive co-worker relationships; meaningful work; recognition; feedback and growth; empowerment and voice; and work-life balance.
The average EEI of all surveyed countries and territories is 69pc. Employee experience scores are the highest in India (84pc, ranked first globally) and the lowest in Hungary (49pc, ranked 25th globally).
The five countries that reported the highest quality of employee experience were spread across Asia Pacific, Middle East/Africa and North America. Following India, the Philippines ranked second globally with an EEI rating of 83pc, Saudi Arabia came in third (80pc), Mexico fourth (79pc) and the UAE fifth (78pc).
Japan, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong and Greece all joined Hungary in the the lowest-reported countries grouping. Each country reported an EEI of between 10 and 20 points below the global average.
Working conditions in Japan were brought to the forefront of public consciousness last week when a Japanese woman died from overwork after logging 159 hours of overtime. Death by overwork is a common enough occurrence in Japan –which it has its own designated term, karoshi – and this recent death has put more pressure on the country’s government to address the issue.
Within Europe, Norway and Portugal are tied for first place with both countries reporting 74pc EEI. They are followed by the Netherlands (73pc), Switzerland (71pc), Germany and Denmark (70pc) and Belgium (69pc).
At 65pc, Europe had the lowest regional average employee index score, which was below the global average. This is probably swayed by the fact that three of the five lowest country EEI scores came from European countries (Czech Republic, Greece and Hungary).
Ireland came in at 65pc on the employer index, placing it squarely at the regional average but dragging four points behind the global average. This puts Ireland on par with France and Austria, meaning that it is ranked ninth in Europe and 17th globally.
‘Death by overwork is a common enough occurrence in Japan and this recent death has put more pressure on the country’s government to address the issue’
Common emigration destinations such as Canada (68pc), the United States (73pc), Australia (73pc) and New Zealand (69pc) all returned a higher employee index than Ireland. A noted exception, the United Kingdom came in lower than Ireland, ranking 18th globally with an EEI rating of 64pc along with Poland and Italy.
Of the six workplace practices examined, meaningful work emerged as the most influential driver, followed by a sense of empowerment and voice.
Though still contributing to a positive employee experience, work-life balance was the least influential driver, adding 9pc to the employee experience compared to the 27pc contribution made by meaningful work and the 16pc from empowerment and voice.
The study concluded with a list of recommendations to employers, advocating that they develop “strategies to enhance perceptions of the meaningfulness of work” and listen “regularly to the voice of your employees, through platforms such as census and pulse surveys, social listening etc”.