Work engagement varies according to profession and gender, test shows
The Work Engagement test is a self-assessment test that anyone in an employment relationship can use to assess their positive experiences of well-being and motivation at work. Work engagement is known to have various positive effects on, for example, physical and mental health, good work performance and productivity, positive attitude towards the workplace and an autonomous and innovative approach to work. Here, we will present the commonness of work engagement in different sectors and demographic groups.
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Approximately one in six respondents experience relatively high or high levels of work engagement, i.e. they experience work engagement on average several times per week or on a daily basis. Correspondingly, about 40% of them experience work engagement once per week or less frequently, which means that their level of work engagement is average or low. 58% of employees in permanent employment relationships and 67% of those in temporary relationships experience high levels of work engagement.
Work engagement is most common in demanding interpersonal positions and artistic jobs as well as among managers
Approximately 71% of people in the education sector, 68% of those in social services and 65% of health care and care work employees experience high levels of work engagement. About the same number of managers, 69%, experience high levels of work engagement. Approximately two out of three (65%) of people working in artistic jobs experience high levels of work engagement. In summary, work engagement is common in demanding jobs and positions that involve high responsibility.
Work engagement least common in industry
High work engagement is least common in industrial work, where only 37% experience work engagement several times per week or on a daily basis. However, it should be noted that more than one third experience work engagement regularly in industrial work as well. Professions where approximately half of employees experience high work engagement are construction (55%), traffic (54%), service and agricultural jobs (54%), commercial work (51%), office work (51%) and technical or scientific work (47%).
Women experience work engagement more often than men
With regard to demography, women (about 61%) are more likely to experience work engagement than men (about 51%). In profession-specific comparison, women also experienced work engagement more often than or at least as often as men, with the exception of construction, where men (about 49%) experienced high levels of work engagement more often than women (about 38%).
Older age is also positively correlated with the level of work enmployees, especially people aged 45 and over, are more likely to experience work engagement than younger employees.
Work engagement has a positive effect on health and happiness
Experiencing work engagement is also positively linked to personal view on health, satisfaction with life and happiness. On the other hand, work engagement and working while sick are negatively correlated with each other. In other words, work engagement does not mean that people compromise their health in order to work.
How are the results in line with previous research data?
The results are very much in line with observations in previous studies. In a study including 30 countries in Europe, it was also discovered that work engagement is most common among those in demanding interpersonal jobs: social welfare and healthcare sector, managers, women and elderly employees. In interpersonal jobs that involve high responsibility, the purpose of the job, its immediate effects and the opportunity to learn new things are resources that are typically concretely present in the job. However, the results of the European study indicated that people in permanent employment relationships were more likely to experience work engagement than others. On the other hand, previous Finnish studies have occasionally shown that temporary employment relationships are positively linked to work engagement: temporary employment may also involve learning new things and skills, which is known to be an important source of work engagement.
All in all, the results indicate that work engagement is not an uncommon experience. It is experienced in all professions and, in line with previous studies, it is positively linked to health and positive mental health: happiness. However, work engagement is not equally common in all profession groups and sectors. Consequently, work engagement should be considered and supported by workplaces by ensuring that there are adequate job resources available. Regardless of the sector, work engagement promotes the meaningfulness of work and helps with facing the demands of the job.
The results of different demographic groups of the Work Engagement survey can be studied in more detail on the Work Engagement data page.
Jari Hakanen, research professor
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