15 August 2019

Press release 37/2019

Work engagement is defined as ”a positive, fulfilling state of mind that is characterized by vigor, dedication, and absorption”. Work engagement is beneficial for both employees and organizations. Work engagement has been associated with better job performance, mental and physical health, better work ability and workplace safety as well as lower risk for sick leaves.

–  The previous studies have shown that different job resources (eg. task variety, autonomy, colleague and social support) are the main drivers of work engagement, whereas job demands (eg. workload, role conflicts, emotional demands) play a minor role, says Research Professor Jari Hakanen at the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.

– The aim of this study was to investigate differences in the levels of work engagement across various demographic and work- and organization-related factors, such as profession, gender, age, type of work contract and their relative importance for work engagement.

Managers and professionals are often engaged at work

Even though the job is demanding, the teachers as well as health and social care workers were more engaged at work than employees in other industries.
Also managers and professionals reported high levels of work engagement, even though they often work long hours. Farmers are also very engaged at work. Obviously, in jobs with high work engagement, job resources are available.

Women are more engaged at work than men

The study showed that women were more engaged at work than men.

– This cannot be fully explained with different professions, comments Hakanen.
– In Finland we have found similar results in other studies. It is possible that women can utilize the job resources better than the men, but this requires more research.

– Also workers over 60 years of age were more engaged at work than the younger ones.  This can at least partly be explained by the fact that those persons who are over 60 and who have poor health or other problems, have already retired, whereas more healthy and engaged employees have longer working careers.

In addition, permanent work contract, full-time job and higher education increased the likelihood of work engagement. In public sector employees were more engaged at work than in private sector. On the other hand, self-employed were more engaged than salaried employees.

We should enhance work engagement 

– It is important to focus on enhancing work engagement, particularly among less educated employees, among those with nonpermanent contracts, and in certain occupations with less engagement, reminds Hakanen.

– Nowadays, employees are expected to be proactive. It is important that organizations are similarly proactive, and do not only focus on adverse working conditions and problems in employee well-being and health. By focusing on increasing job resources and supporting employee proactivity, work engagement and thus also better performance at work can be boosted, says Hakanen.

Research Professor Jari Hakanen presents the research results in the international WORK2019 conference on Friday 16.8. in Helsinki.  

Additional information:
Research Professor Jari Hakanen, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, tel. +358 40 562 5433, jari.hakanen[at]ttl.fi

Article Hakanen, J. J. Ropponen, A. Schaufeli, W. B. & De Witte, H. (2019). Who is Engaged at Work? Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 61(5), 373–381.

Wilmar B. Schaufeli, Work engagement in Europe: Relations with national economy, governance and culture. Organizational Dynamics, Volume 47, Issue 2, April–June 2018, Pages 99-106

WORK2019: Media registrations and additional information Marja Rautajoki, tel. +358 50 412 4451
smartworkresearch@utu.fi (Turun yliopisto)
SWiPE – Smart Work in Platform Economy