Benchmarking your employee experience can be a useful exercise to see how you compare to others in your industry, and to track how your EX efforts are doing versus your competitors. But how should you compare the experience for workers in different countries?

If you’ve ever emigrated for a job or spend time abroad for work, you’ll know there are significant differences when it comes to workplace culture.

We wanted to see how the employee experience shaped up across a variety of sectors in different countries. Using the latest data from our Employee Pulse survey – a quarterly study of some 5,000 workers around the world run by Qualtrics Research Services – we wanted to answer the question ‘which country has the best employee experience?’.

And here’s what we found…

Where are the world’s happiest workers?

When asked how satisfied they are with their current job, US workers came out as the clear winners, with 70% of full-time employees saying they were ‘extremely’ or ‘somewhat’ satisfied in their current roles.

Towards the bottom of our list were France, Singapore, and Malaysia where just 50% of workers said they were ‘extremely’ or ‘somewhat’ happy in their current roles.

Here’s how different countries stacked up when it came to how many full-time workers said they were ‘extremely’ or ‘somewhat’ satisfied in their current roles:

  • US – 70%
  • Australia – 66%
  • Germany – 64%
  • UK – 63%
  • New Zealand – 59%
  • Singapore – 50%
  • Malaysia – 50%
  • France – 50%

How much do people look forward to going to work?

When it comes to measuring the employee experience, there is a perennial debate about which metric to use. While job satisfaction and other measures certainly have their merits, one of our favourite questions is ‘When you wake up in the morning, how often do you look forward to going to work?’.

It is a metric that gets right to the heart of the personal experience – when the alarm clock goes off and you’re faced with a full day of work ahead, how motivated are you to get up and go? It’s not about your employer, but about you.

Here’s how our different countries ranked for full-time workers who said they ‘nearly always’ or ‘often’ looked forward to going to work in the morning:

  • US – 51%
  • Germany – 49%
  • New Zealand – 48%
  • Australia – 47%
  • Malaysia – 42%
  • UK – 41%
  • France – 35%
  • Singapore – 29%

US workers back up their high satisfaction figures coming in second while France and Singapore prop up the bottom of the league table.

Which countries have a problem with attrition?

Remember France? It was one of our lowest performing countries when it comes to job satisfaction and looking forward to going to work. Well, they perform much higher when it comes to staying loyal to their employer.

Here’s how many workers said they would ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ stay in their roles for the next 2 years:

  • US – 71%
  • Australia – 62%
  • Germany – 64%
  • France – 61%
  • UK – 59%
  • New Zealand – 56%
  • Malaysia – 56%
  • Singapore – 48%

Naturally, the US, Australia, and Germany have the most loyal workers – after all, they were the happiest and ranked highly when it came to looking forward to going to work.

But it’s the responses of French workers that is most interesting. Here’s a group of seemingly unhappy workers, but leaving their jobs to find a new role doesn’t appear to be the answer.

Based on the first two data points, you’d think French employers have a real challenge on their hands to keep hold of their employees, especially if half of them aren’t happy in their jobs. However, when we asked how likely employees were to stay in their jobs for the next 3 years, France jumps to number 4 in our ranking, leapfrogging more highly engaged countries like the UK and New Zealand, and sitting alongside our most satisfied workers in the US, Australia, and Germany.

Perhaps they feel that their experience at work – even if they don’t love it – is fairly typical across the country and that changing jobs could simply be a case of ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’. Or perhaps in the UK and New Zealand, while things are pretty good for most workers, there are other key drivers at play which push their attrition rate higher than expected.

And the winner is…

It’s clear that US workers win when it comes to employee experience, topping all 3 measures we looked at here. Either that or they’re simply much more optimistic than workers elsewhere in the world! But what’s also clear from this very topline data is that the employee experience is incredibly nuanced. It’s not about a single metric – after all, looking at attrition, you’d think French workers were happy, but when you look at the other metrics it’s quite the opposite.

Measuring and optimising the employee experience is much more than a single metric – to truly transform your workplace culture, you need to understand the key drivers of your core KPIs. Being able to understand from employees how they rate things like career progression, relationships with their managers, work-life balance and other experience drivers is essential to understand exactly what levers to pull to improve the experience.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be diving deeper into our data to see how the key drivers of experience differ by country and industry, and how different groups of workers are impacted by those key drivers in very different ways. Stay tuned to find out more…

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