Best Practices

The Most Engaged Workforces Ranked by Continent


With all of the current literature on employee engagement, you’d think that we’d now have at our disposal a varied wealth of information on the topic. However, we’d be wrong in our assumption. The fact is, there’s little content being developed that actually focuses on the state of Employee Engagement on a global level.

All those employee engagement statistics we see posted everywhere on the interwebs generally come from US studies and content sites. So, what about the rest of the world? Europe, Asia, and beyond?

Do people in other countries share in the established perspectives and ideologies which are advocated in the USA? Is there truly consensus, around the globe, with regards to the ins and outs, rights and wrongs, of employee engagement on the whole?

So, let’s take this topic on a trip around the world and back to see what we find.

Let’s Define Employee Engagement

So, Employee Engagement is not, as some people may still think, a synonym for “job appreciation” or “job satisfaction”. In fact, according to Aon, Employee Engagement is “the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their organization”. In other words, it corresponds to the positive, mission-focused dedication to their organization’s success.

Employee Engagement impacts companies in various and significant ways, from productivity and profitability to turnover and everything in between.

Related: 12 Shocking Employee Rewards Program Statistics

According to this 2018 study,  employee engagement is based on the “Say, Stay, Strive” model. With Stay, Stay, Strive, employees’ individual level of engagement to their job depends on if they:

  1. Say positive things about their organization and advocate the virtues of their job.
  2. Stay in their organization for a long time.
  3. Strive to give the best of themselves for their organization’s success.

Additionally, the study explored work experience concepts that generally lead to greater employee engagement – themes revolving around Career & Development, Customer Focus, the Employee Value Proposition, Employee Rewards & Recognition, among others. The findings were quite enlightening, to say the least.

Employee Engagement in 2018 broken down by continent

In this comprehensive study involving 1000 international companies in 60 different industries with more than 8 million participants, the “Say, Stay, Strive” model was used to paint a portrait of Employee Engagement around the world.

Below is a continent-by-continent ranking of countries which are winning the employee engagement “race”.

1. Latin America

Latin America’s Employee Engagement level seems to have stayed flat. In fact, engagement declined in some markets (in countries such as Brazil, Colombia or Peru) while others drastically improved (Costa Rica or the Dominican Republic).

2. Africa

Each of Africa’s largest economies (South Africa, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt) experienced the most significant surge in Employee Engagement. It’s worth mentioning since the evolution is pretty impressive: from 51% of employees engaged in 2012, Africa went up to 66% in 2017.

3. Asia Pacific

Employee Engagement in the Asia Pacific region (APAC) increased in 2017 thanks to the region’s largest countries (China, India and Japan).

4. North America

Employee Engagement levels in the U.S. remained at 64% in 2017, indicating a steady trend influenced by a favourable economic context. However, Canada’s level of Employee Engagement shows signs of potential trouble, although the decline was not significant. But when it comes to the factors of high Employee Engagement, 11 dimensions fell out of 16!


Europe is undeniably the continent showing the worst level of Employee Engagement in the world, although it has been consistently improving in the last decade. Countries like France, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden indeed rose by several points this year.

What all continents have in common when it comes to Employee Engagement

According to the findings of this study, the “Rewards & Recognition” dimension is the strongest driver (for the second year in a row) of employee engagement no matter the continent.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Employees Prefer Non-Cash Incentives and Rewards