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Two in three European employees are happy in their job every week

More than 60% feel their work is meaningful and are proud of their job

Blue Monday or not, European employees generally seem very happy in the workplace. Two in three (just under 65%) enjoy their work week after week. Roughly the same number of employees are also proud of what they do every week, and more than six in ten often see work as their passion. These are some of the results of "A Worker’s Journey", a large-scale survey conducted by European HR and payroll specialist SD Worx in Belgium, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Blue Monday will arrive on 17 January this year. It is the name for what may be the most depressing day of the year: for most people it is the first day of the working week, the holidays are behind them, the festive season is over, those New Year's resolutions are not going so well, it's still dark outside and summer (and the vacation that comes with it) is still a long way off. This is what makes Blue Monday such a dispiriting day. 

And yet at work things aren't that bad at all. Many employers are still managing to keep their employees happy and engaged. A Worker’s Journey, a survey conducted by SD Worx, shows that around 65% of all employees surveyed still enjoy their work every week. For 43% of these respondents, this extends to multiple times per week – or even daily. 

In the Netherlands, this figure is significantly higher, with 79% professing to enjoy their job every week. Belgium is next with 66% of employees, followed by Germany with 64%. The percentage for France is 60%. The only country where fewer than 6 in 10 employees enjoy their work every week is the UK with 53%. According to Cathy Geerts, Chief HR Officer at SD Worx, "only 2.4% of European employees are not having fun at work." "The frequency obviously varies, but for the majority of employees, working is still pleasurable. This is a wonderful observation, indicating that many employers can offer their people a challenging and varied job in a pleasant working environment."

    68% often find their job useful


    Employees want their job to be enjoyable but also meaningful – and this is the case for most, with 68% of Europeans finding their work meaningful. In the Netherlands, as many as 8 in 10 employees experience their job as meaningful at least once a week. In the UK this figure is considerably lower at 58%. Belgium (71%) and Germany (69%) also have very high scores, with France doing slightly less well (61%). 

    Passion and pride are also interesting emotions that are an excellent gauge of the satisfaction employees gain from their jobs. In total, 68% of working Europeans are proud of their job every week. This percentage is above the 60% mark in all countries. Once again, the Netherlands has the best score with 77%. Belgium is next with 68%. In the UK, 2 in 3 employees are proud of their jobs every week. This figure is slightly lower in Germany (61%) and France (60%). "A vast majority of 61% are passionate about their work every week," states Cathy Geerts. "This indicates that many European employees are committed to their jobs."

      36% experience their job as being mentally stressful every week

      Conversely, more than 1 in 3 employees experience too much mental stress in their jobs at least once a week. For almost 1 in 5 employees, this is the case several times during the working week. This percentage is the highest in the Belgian labour market at 41%. The UK (36%), Germany (35%), France (34%) and the Netherlands all fluctuate around the European average. 

      One in 4 employees also experience physical strain from their jobs one or more times each week. In France, this is the case for 3 in 10 employees. The UK is next with 28% of employees, followed by Belgium with 27%. This figure (22%) is slightly lower in Germany and the Netherlands. 

      "Although most of the survey results are reasons for cautious optimism about European employee job satisfaction, we should not lose sight of the fact that many people are also finding their work hard and stressful. In the current context in particular, employee well-being should be high on the agenda. A previous survey has shown that this will be one of the biggest challenges faced by HR managers in the years ahead," Cathy Geerts concludes.

        About the survey

        To gain a better understanding of the employee’s entire employee journey and work experience at European level, HR and payroll specialist SD Worx commissioned a survey. This included input from regular employees, self-employed persons, seconded staff and temporary workers. The survey was conducted among 5,000 employers from five countries and covered the entire recruitment process as seen by the employees. This includes attracting new employees, recruitment, onboarding, carrying out the work, development and career advancement, remuneration and offboarding. The survey dates back to April 2021 and took place in the following countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The survey included both smaller and larger companies across various industries.