The Netherlands has the happiest employees in the world

19 March 2012 1 min. read

Dutch workers are overall the happiest workers in the world and Italians are the most miserable, according to the Happiness Index of advisory firm ONS in cooperation with the Wall Street Journal. More than 2,000 workers across 80 countries in 30 sectors were surveyed.

The survey measured employee satisfaction in five areas: contribution, conviction, culture, commitment and confidence.

Tired business woman sleeping at work

The Dutch most satisfied

The Netherlands topped the table by scoring highly in motivation (6.24 out of 10), confidence (5.40) and of doing something worthwhile at work (5.94). Dutch people report a strong sense of liking colleagues (5.52), enjoy a fair culture (5.84) and appreciate their organization's values (6.29). In contrast, Italy's unhappy workforce reported low levels of liking their colleagues (4.35) and appreciating their organisations' values (4.42). They also received the lowest score, worldwide, for trusting their leaders' vision (3.65).

Consultants satisfied, accountants and bankers least satisfied

Consultants, educators and healthcare providers scored highly across all measures, but particularly in motivation (6.01, 6.08, 5.82 respectively) and engagement (58.6%, 64.1%, 60.0% of the time). They felt their work had a positive impact on the world (5.87, 6.88, 6.89). Employees in the financial sector and in accounting were the least happy, due to low levels of motivation (4.56 out of 10), engagement (46% of the time) and confidence (4.51 out of 10). They cited an inability to raise issues at work (4.5) and low feelings of job security (4.7).

Satisfaction increases with age

Other findings from the survey included that happiness at work increases with age. Beyond 40, happiness at work increased through to the 60+ age group. Feelings of being able to get things done efficiently decreased across the 21-50 age groups, returning to above average for those aged 51+.