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Top 10 countries where workers are thriving most, according to a new Gallup report

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Most of us spend the majority of our waking lives at work, so it's no surprise that our jobs can have a big impact on our overall mental health and wellbeing.

While work can add stress, sadness and anger to our lives, some also find fulfillment, purpose and happiness through work.

According to Gallup's 2024 State of the Global Workplace report, 34% of survey respondents globally say they are "thriving" while 58% say they are "struggling." Some 8% of those surveyed globally admit they are "suffering" at work.

Those who are thriving report "significantly fewer health problems and less worry, stress, sadness, loneliness, depression and anger. They report more hope, happiness, energy, interest and respect," according to the study, which is based on overall life evaluation, which combines respondents' perceptions of where they stand now and in the future.

The study sought to assess the mental health and wellbeing of employees, and measured engagement through positive experiences like thriving and enjoyment, as well as negative experiences like stress, anger, worry, sadness and loneliness.

The Gallup World Poll surveyed the world's adult population across more than 160 countries and areas around the world. The data for this report collected in 2023 included results from more than 128,000 employed respondents.

Here are the 10 countries with the highest proportion of people who say they are thriving, according to Gallup's study.

  1. Finland: 83%
  2. Denmark: 77%
  3. Iceland: 76%
  4. Netherlands: 71%
  5. Sweden: 70%
  6. Israel: 69%
  7. Norway: 67%
  8. Costa Rica: 62%
  9. Belgium: 60%
  10. Australia: 60%

European countries dominated the list with seven making the top 10. The region recorded the lowest percentage of employees who said they were "watching for or actively seeking a new job" and the second lowest percentage of employees who are "experiencing daily sadness," according to the report.

Notably, Europe also recorded the "lowest regional percentage of engaged employees," coming in at 13%, but the region is known for its strong labor protections, the report highlighted.

In contrast, the U.S. ranks lower on labor protections but higher on employee engagement, according to the study.

"People often contrast Western Europe's 'work to live' culture with the United States' 'live to work' mindset," according to the report. Ultimately, "engaged employees in countries with substantial Labour Rights laws have the strongest emotional health."

Australia was among the top 10 with 60% of respondents who said they were "thriving," and 21% said they were engaged at work. In Costa Rica, 62% of respondents reported that they were "thriving," while 34% said they were "engaged" at work.

Israel also made the list as an outlier in the Middle East and North Africa region. The broader region recorded the highest percentage of employees "experiencing daily stress," with 52% of respondents reporting this, compared to 39% in Israel.

Asia lagged behind, but these are the top 10 in the region where the highest percentage of respondents said they were thriving:

  1. Vietnam: 51%
  2. Taiwan: 41%
  3. Singapore: 39%
  4. Thailand: 37%
  5. Philippines: 36%
  6. China: 36%
  7. South Korea: 34%
  8. Malaysia: 31%
  9. Japan: 29%
  10. Mongolia: 29%

"When employees find their work and work relationships meaningful, employment is associated with high levels of daily enjoyment and low levels of all negative daily emotions. Notably, half of employees who are engaged at work are thriving in life overall," according to the report.

Additionally, "when managers are engaged, employees are more likely to be engaged," according to the study. "In best-practice organizations, three-fourths of managers are engaged, as well as seven in 10 non-managers."

The responsibility doesn't solely lie on the employee — it is also up to the organizations. When companies instill the necessary labor protections and hire strong, engaged, and well-trained managers, engaged employees can thrive both in the workplace and in life.

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