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Global Employee Engagement Benchmark Study

31 May 2022

Great workplaces are in short supply across the globe. According to a study by Great Place to Work®, employees worldwide persistently experience a lack of trust, purpose and connection at work. 

These experiences are sadly familiar to many employees,” says Michael C. Bush, CEO of Great Place to Work. Moreover, they’re hurting companies’ agility, innovation and performance.”


Our 2021 Global Employee Engagement Benchmark study gives an insight into the state of workplaces worldwide. Conducted in the summer of 2021, the study surveyed over 14,000 workers across 37 countries to determine the average employee experience around the world.

Employees rated their workplace against 17 statements in Great Place to Work’s Trust Index™ survey. The statements measure factors that contribute to a positive employee experience, including a sense of purpose, innovation opportunities, psychological safety, perceptions of leaders and fairness.

Employee engagement index in 37 countries 

Our study finds that only around half of employees across the globe are experiencing a great workplace. There is little variation across regions. In the highest scoring region, Latin America, just 60% of employees report a positive employee experience. In the lowest scoring region, Europe, only 52% of employees report a positive employee experience.

Few differences emerged across industries, except in hospitality, where the overall average employee experience sits at a low of 49%. All other industries included in our study averaged between 54% and 60%.


4 key employee experiences are holding companies back

Why are great workplaces so rare? The study reveals four challenges common to most workplaces today: 

1. Equity

More than half of workers feel that pay and promotions are not handled fairly

2. Meaningful connections

A significant portion of workers report a lack of personal connection and psychological safety: 

  • 43% believe their coworkers don’t care for each other

  • 35% say they don’t feel they can be themselves at work

  • 45% say their workplaces are not psychologically and emotionally healthy

3. Purpose

Finding purpose at work is becoming more and more important to employees, but many are still struggling to do so. A large percentage of respondents said their work lacked meaning or failed to make a difference.

4. Leadership

Finally, nearly half of all employees reported weak or poor relationships with their leaders with roughly half indicating their leaders do not:

  • Care for them as people

  • Involve them in decisions

  • Match their actions to their words

These challenges mean that the average company is missing out on the full potential of their employees. 

At average workplaces around the globe, a poor employee experience undermines companies’ ability to take advantage of new market opportunities and outpace their competitors. 

The cost of poor employee engagement

Most workplaces will struggle with retention, as nearly half of employees say they do not intend to stay with their employer. Companies also face a challenge in attracting new talent, as almost half of employees are not willing to recommend their employer.

Even those who stay with their employer don't feel they are working at their best - with two out of five indicating negative experiences at work hinder their ability to contribute to innovation. 

While great workplaces are rare, the World’s Best Workplaces™ show their possibility and potential. Employees at these globally great workplaces report consistently positive experiences of leadership, purpose in their work, and meaningful connections with their colleagues.


As a result, these workplaces enjoy:

  • 52% higher levels of intent to stay 

  • 65% more employees willing to recommend their employer to others

It’s an understatement to say the last year has been an incredible challenge for people inside and outside of work,” says Bush. The World’s Best Workplaces show the power companies have to positively impact their employees’ lives, no matter where they work, who they are or what challenges face us as a global community.”

Want to run your own employee survey?

Get in touch with Great Place to Work to survey your employees, benchmark your company culture and improve your employee experience.

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