The importance of having a good work/life balance cannot be emphasised enough. With most countries in lockdown and working from home a norm, that balance has definitely taken a hit. However, there are countries which are serious about job satisfaction, and according to the 2020 Digital Talent Global Work Happiness Index, Denmark tops the list of the best places to work in Europe, for techies.
Denmark beats Germany and France to offer highest job satisfaction in Europe
The new 2020 Digital Talent Global Work Happiness Index has named the Nordic country Denmark as the best place to work in digital in Europe. People working in the tech sector in Denmark scored high in terms of work-life balance, family-friendly working models, purpose, personal safety and personal impact. All of these factors helped the index evaluate how much impact an individual feels they are making to their business.
When the index report compared Denmark’s scores with countries overseas, the city ranked third overall. The first place globally is shared by the US and Australia. While Denmark also beats the UK, Germany and France in terms of job satisfaction, on a global scale, the UK stands fifth and is followed by France, Spain and Switzerland. Japan ranks last in terms of job satisfaction amongst the surveyed countries.
As per the report, UK-based employees said they are happy with their pay, bonuses and financial compensation when compared to all other countries outside the top two. Additionally, their work happiness is also rated above the global average in all factors, except family-friendly working models. The UK’s lowest scores are in learning and development opportunities, and the participant’s organisation’s environmental effort.
By comparison, the Danes scored lowest for pay, diversity and environmental effort. This is said to indicate that their work happiness is less affected by financial compensation as compared to other countries on the list. Only 34% of digital talents in Denmark said they prioritise financial compensation among the most important job components, compared to 54% in the USA, and 47% globally.
Claudia Bruyant Ndege, principal of Boston Consulting Group, says, “We had expected Australia and the USA to fight for first place, but we did not expect Denmark to place so high on the list and actually place itself best in relation to the other European countries and best among non-English speaking countries. For many digital international talents, Denmark is an overlooked destination compared to the other nations in the study, but we can see that the digital talents who find their way to Denmark are basically really happy with their working lives.”
Work-life balance trumps financial compensation
The report found that in most cases, work-life balance holds more value over financial compensation. Participants from the UK voted work-life balance as the most crucial factor in work happiness – higher than any other country, including the US and Australia. After work-life balance and pay, having interesting job content ranked as the third most important factor of jobs across the 10 surveyed countries.
Diversity was ranked as the least important element by all countries, particularly in Switzerland. It was followed by environmental effort, the delegation of authority, and responsibility and purpose. It should also be noted that priorities change with one’s age and thus, younger respondents aged under 40 felt that learning and career development opportunities, social environment, and their organisation’s environmental effort were factors important to them.
On the contrary, people aged over 40 prioritised work-life balance and interesting job content. However, both age groups rank these job components equally high in relation to job satisfaction and happiness.
Gender divide still persistent
The survey also looks at work happiness from a gender perspective and finds that female digital talent were 3% less happy at work compared to their male counterparts. This finding is certainly distressing since women make up 21% of the total number of respondents in the survey, and/or because diversity is a low priority and possibly overlooked on a day-to-day basis.
Here’s what sets Demark apart
Denmark scored exceptionally high on the survey, and there’s a good reason behind that. Based on interviews, the survey notes that digital talent in Denmark feel like their contributions are often highly valued, which leads to them crediting a high score for their organisation’s purpose. The flat work hierarchy also helps make them feel like they have a more personal impact.
As per the UN, Denmark, and some Nordic countries, hosts some of the happiest people in the world. This is because these societies have many things in common such as less inequality and high trust in societies, other people and public institutions. Residents of such regions also have a strong sense of community, and these countries are some of the most proactive ones in meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Denmark also built a flexicurity model for its citizens, which offers high levels of flexibility and social security. However, it also imposes high taxes, some of the highest in the world. They up to half of their income in tax, with some of the highest rates in the world. Danes also pay a 25% value-added tax on most items, and a tax of up to 150% on new cars. However, they are some of the happiest people in the world because these high taxes, in turn, enable free healthcare, elderly care and university education, as well as subsidised childcare.