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Diverse Picture Of Employees’ Engagement And Wellbeing Across Various Nations In The Sub-Saharan Region

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Gallup’s latest State of the Global Workplace report finds that global employee engagement stagnated and employee wellbeing declined in 2023 after multiple years of steady gains. The result is that the majority of the world’s employees continue to struggle at work and in life, with direct consequences for organizational productivity.

The findings reveal a diverse and intricate picture across various nations in the Sub-Saharan region across multiple metrics. The report shows that one in five employees in the Sub-Saharan region are engaged at work, compared to the global average of 23%. In South Africa, 29% are engaged; in Tanzania, 31%; and in Kenya, 18%, but Senegal shows significantly higher rates at 40%.

The Role of Work in Employee Mental Health and Wellbeing

Employee engagement is a significant factor in overall life experiences. Not all mental health issues are related to work, but work is a factor in life evaluations and daily emotions. Addressing employee mental health, in part, requires support for thriving in life and engagement at work.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly half of all employees (48%) report experiencing stress a lot the previous day, marking a two-percentage-point increase from 2022 and higher than the global rate of 41%. In South Africa, 32% report experiencing stress, compared to 34% in Kenya, 46% in Senegal and 40% in Zambia, which is much higher than the 25% of employees in Zimbabwe.

The regional rate of 28% for those experiencing sadness is higher than the global rate of 22%, but the picture is quite nuanced across the region. While in South Africa and Senegal, 20% of employees report experiencing sadness a lot of the previous day, 23% in Kenya do so, 24% in Tanzania, 28% in Zambia, 36% in Gambia and 37% in Togo. A significantly lower 15% report sadness in Mauritius and 16% in Namibia, while Guinea is much higher at 49%.

Gallup finds that 20% of the world’s employees experienced loneliness a lot the previous day. Social isolation and chronic loneliness have a devastating effect on physical and mental health but work itself decreases loneliness. In general, working adults are less lonely than the global average.

Findings show that Sub-Saharan Africa has the second-highest regional percentage of employees experiencing loneliness. Nearly one in three in the region (28%) felt lonely a lot the previous day, compared to 22% globally.

The Second-Lowest Regional Percentage of Thriving Employees

Gallup’s wellbeing item measures overall life evaluation by combining present and future self-reflection. Compared to the global rate of 34% of employees thriving in their overall lives, in Sub-Saharan Africa, only 17% are.

Significantly higher than the regional average, 32% are thriving in South Africa and 27% in Senegal, while fewer employees are in Kenya (16%) and Tanzania (14%). Only 8% are thriving in Sierra Leone.

The negative trends in life evaluations parallel decreasing confidence among employees regarding several countries’ job markets. While 49% in the region think it is a good time to find a job, marking a one-percentage-point decrease from last year, 75% are watching for or actively seeking a new job. This rate greatly exceeds the global rate of 52%.

In South Africa, however, just over half of employees (56%) are watching for opportunities or actively seeking a new job. In Kenya, 81% of employees report doing so, 88% in Sierra Leone, 68% in Senegal, 63% in Namibia and 71% in Ghana.

The global workplace has changed since 2020. The rise in hybrid work for remote-capable employees has made people management more complicated. When organizations increase the number of employees who are engaged at work, it improves a host of organizational outcomes. There remains a vast potential for workplaces in Africa to address employee engagement and wellbeing, but the diversity of findings confirms that the underlying factors can vary significantly from one country to another.

About Gallup
Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students, and citizens than any other organization in the world.

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