Workers in Asia show lowest levels of engagement

New York, Nov 15 | Updated: Nov 16 2005, 05:30am hrs
Workers in Asian countries report the lowest level of engagement in their jobs, a potential roadblock for fast-growing economies like India and China, according to a global workforce study released on Tuesday.

Worldwide, only about 14% of workers are highly engaged - defined as willing and able to help a company succeed - according to the Towers Perrin human resources consultancy.

The survey of 86,000 full-time workers in 16 countries found workers in Brazil and Mexico are most willing to go the extra mile for their bosses. Workers in the United States ranked third, while those in Western European countries were mostly in the middle. The lowest levels of engagement were reported in China, India, Japan and South Korea. In India, just 7% of workers are highly engaged, one-third the level in the United States and half the global average, the survey found. Only Japan ranks lower, with 2% of workers highly engaged. We found dramatic difference from country to country, said Towers Perrins Julie Gaebar.

Workers in Ireland care more about benefits than their counterparts elsewhere, for example, while US employees give greater weight to how much interest managers show in their subordinates.

The goal of the research is to provide a human resources roadmap for managers to tailor strategy to local conditions. Cultivating more engaged employees helps improve companies financial performance, the study argues. The reverse may also be true, as a less engaged workforce could hurt performance and, in turn, slow economic development.

If you have a significant portion of people disengaged, it may have an impact on quality and customer service, Gaebar said. We havent seen that yet, but its something organisations ought to watch out for. Fast economic growth does not lead to higher levels of satisfaction, she added, because workers in rapidly developing countries endure greater levels of stress.

While good pay is clearly a driver of worker engagement, so are factors such as fairness, the ability to learn and inspiring leadership. The opportunity to develop new skills is the No. 1 global driver of engagement, the study found. An organisations reputation and a workers input into decision making also ranked high on the list.