Europeans are unhappy at work — especially in Germany and Austria

Released: 15 June 2012

A StepStone 2012 survey reveals Europe’s (un)happiness at work.

Düsseldorf, June 2012 - 43% of Europeans feel unhappy at work: only 23% feel very happy at work and 34% moderately happy. The happiest workers are in Belgium, the Netherlands and Denmark. At the other end of the scale are Germany and Austria: where employees feel unhappier at work than other Europeans, dipping below the average of five out of ten.

It is somewhat disturbing to find that 43% of the people interviewed feel unhappy at work — especially as the StepStone survey indicates that professional unhappiness has a major impact on people's personal lives. Leo Bormans, author of the World Book of Happiness, says: "People don’t just want to earn more money. They want to feel good in their job. We all want to be happy, and work takes an enormous place in our quest for happiness. Work itself has become an important instrument for a happy life. This is confirmed by the StepStone happiness survey."

Ralf Baumann, StepStone CEO, comments: "As a job seeker, it’s important to check not only whether the new job is right for you, but also whether you'll fit into the culture of the prospective employer. This supplementary research pays off, as our survey reveals that 85% of people would switch employer if they felt unhappy at work, even if they loved the job itself."

Happiness factors at work

StepStone also asked interviewees what the most important elements are for being happy at work. Salary is not one of the top five factors. In fact, the most important factors contributing to happiness at work are social ones, such as respect for employees, a good company atmosphere, a fair and open mentality, and receiving recognition for work done. The only “hard” element in the top five is interesting job content as the solid number two on the list.

More details about these findings and more results can be found in the full StepStone survey report on happiness at work, available on request. An infograph on happiness per country can be found on this link.