10% of employees in Western Europe are engaged. WESTERN Europe is one of the most socially and economically developed regions in the world, but many of its countries have endured financial and political turmoil over the last decade. Debt crises in several nations have forced more solvent EU countries to bail out those on the verge of economic catastrophe, contributing to the current debate about the future of European integration.
Employment data from the Gallup World Polls conducted from 2014 to 2016 indicate that northern countries in Western Europe tend to have higher rates of residents working full time for an employer — a key metric in assessing the maturity and vitality of a country’s labour market. The Scandinavian countries top the list — particularly Sweden, where two-thirds of residents aged 23 to 65 (67%) work full time for an employer. This number falls below 40% in Spain (37%) and Italy (36%).
However, some challenges affecting the productivity of Western Europe’s workforces are prevalent throughout the region — among them, low levels of employee engagement. Overall, just 10% of employed residents in Western Europe are engaged — that is, involved in and enthusiastic about their work.
Among the region’s 18 countries, this figure tops out at 17% in Norway, and it is well below 10% in France, Italy and Spain. By contrast, among the world’s most highly engaged workforces, including the U.S., more than 30% of employees are engaged. To meet changing expectations, particularly among younger workers, European firms must adopt management strategies that more effectively prioritize employee development, positivity and future orientation.
For many, this represents a substantial cultural transformation. But in the absence of workplaces that fuel human capital development, businesses across the continent will continue to lack a sustainable foundation for addressing their productivity problems. The full State of the Global Workplace report includes a detailed comparison of factors affecting labour productivity in Europe versus the U.S., as well as spotlight articles on workforce issues in Germany and the U.K.