Around 86 percent of employees in the European Union are satisfied with their job as indicated by an empirical analysis based on the European Working Condition Survey (EWCS) from 2015. Austria and the Netherlands are at the top of the country ranking with 93 and 92 percent satisfied employees, respectively. Germany as the largest economy ranks slightly above the European average with 88 percent.

Appreciation and recognition expressed in terms of money, growth perspectives and praise determine whether employees are satisfied with their job. Equally important is a good social environment at the workplace. In contrast, time pressure, frequent work interruptions or long working hours are associated with a lower degree of job satisfaction. However, detrimental effects could be compensated by supportive working conditions such as a high level of autonomy. Thus, more than 80 percent of employees are still satisfied with their job even if they work under high time pressure.

Job Satisfaction in Europe

Share of participants of the survey who are satisfied with their work in percent and how it changes when the employees are dissatisfied with certain working conditions

Source: Cologne Institute for Economic Research, EWCS2015

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Furthermore, the study results indicate that supervisors – from the point of view of their employees – perform better than they are reputed to be: The majority of employees in Europe feels appreciated by their supervisors. Accordingly, seven out of ten employees affirm that their supervisors acknowledge a job well done.

„Job satisfaction is a good approximation to measure the quality of work“, says Andrea Hammermann, a researcher in the field of labour and personnel economics at the IW. A higher job satisfaction is an expression of the quality of work as perceived by the employees themselves. Since the last European Working Condition Survey in 2010, the rate of satisfied employees has remained consistently on a high level. „There is no empirical evidence to support the often assumed slow deterioration of work quality – neither in the European Union as a whole nor in any member state in particular.“