Employees are particularly unhappy in Germany

In Germany, large differences between sexes are noticeable. 71.4% of men are happier with their work, compared to 59.4% of women.

Excessive demands, different salary expectations and insufficient flexibility: despite the well-functioning economy, the satisfaction of employees in German companies is falling like in no other European country.  EURACTIV Germany’s media partner Wirtschaftswoche reports.

Employees are difficult to satisfy in Germany. A poll published this week by employment agency Randstad reveals great discontent among them, topped in Europe only by Hungarians. Employees in the UK and Italy, despite experiencing turbulent times with Brexit and the economic crisis, are actually more satisfied than those in Germany.

This quarterly study carried out in 30 countries surveyed 400 employees from different sectors in Germany. The study presented German companies in a bad light as only 65% of survey participants were satisfied with their job. Last year, the figure was almost 8 percentage points higher.

Clear difference between sexes

In Germany, there are large differences between sexes. 71.4% of men are happier with their work, compared to 59.4% of women. A 2017 study commissioned by the employment agency Avantgarde Experts showed why women are often more dissatisfied with their jobs.

The key factor was salary, which on average is lower for women than for men. Female employees also raised the point of there being a lack of flexible working hours.

However, employees of both sexes rarely cope with their workload and often feel unfairly remunerated. This was again shown by the Danish start-up Peakon, an employee engagement platform that conducted a study in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia and the US.

According to the study, employees in Scandinavia and the US are more fulfilled in their work, have greater freedom to make decisions and identify better with their company’s values compared to employees in Germany.

Gender balance in the workplace: 'Not a women’s issue anymore'

The work-life balance directive is only a few steps away from becoming law after the European Parliament and EU member states reached political agreement in January. The new rules will boost women’s representation in the workplace while securing at least 10 days of paid parental leave for fathers.

Regular employee surveys reflect the company’s mood

Even though employee satisfaction does not seem to heavily influence the economy, the results of the Randstad study are quite significant for companies in Germany.

Employees who have already resigned mentally perform less and do not reach their potential. Dissatisfaction, which could sometimes be resolved by simple means, therefore becomes another factor that affects the shortage of skilled workers.

To avoid being caught off-guard by their employees’ unspoken displeasure, many are starting to implement employee surveys. This will allow the companies to promptly record the overall mood of employees and the potential for improvement.

Peakon combines employee surveys with machine learning and algorithms. Surveys are automatically sent out, analysed and follow-up questions created depending on the answer.

With the help of these findings, managers should be able to put in place measures that could increase employee satisfaction at the workplace.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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