Global employee engagement levels increased to 61% in 2013, up from 60% in 2012 and 58% in 2011, according to research by Aon Hewitt.
Its 2014 Trends in global employee engagement report, which represents the perspectives of seven million employees across more than 6,000 organisations in 155 countries, found the regions with the largest increase in employee engagement in 2013 were Africa and the Middle East, rising from 53% to 61%.
Engagement in Asia Pacific increased for the first time in two years, up from 58% to 61%, while engagement in North America increased from 63% to 65%.
Employee engagement levels in Europe remained flat at 57%, while those in Latin American dropped from 74% to 70%.
Across global respondents, the top driver of employee engagement was career opportunities, followed by managing performance and organisational reputation.
Pay, which ranked as the third highest driver of engagement in 2012, dropped to fourth position, while communication completed the list of top five engagement drivers.
The research also found:
- Baby Boomers are the most engaged generation, at 66%, followed by Generation X at 60% and Millennials at 56%.
- 75% of executives and senior managers are engaged globally, while middle managers (65%) and frontline employees (61%) are also engaged.
- Professional employees, such as engineers, lawyers and nurses, maintained their status of having the lowest level of engagement globally, with only 54% engaged.
Jenny Merry, engagement practice leader at Aon Hewitt in the UK, said: “Our study shows that organisations overcoming business and people challenges are investing in a culture of engagement built on performance focus, strong reputation and superior leadership.
“While differences in geography, culture and generation impact what drives engagement for employees globally, Aon Hewitt’s research also shows that there is actually more harmony than discord. Universally, employees want to be part of an organisation that offers career opportunities, provides rewards for performance and has a solid reputation.
“However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Understanding employees and what drives them, and subsequently tailoring communication to resonate best with respective groups, will pay dividends in making engagement happen.
“Our research shows that raising the bar on employee engagement starts with the leaders themselves. The continuous rise in executive-level engagement may be a promising sign to come that we will see an upward shift in engagement levels of other employee segments in the near future.”