HR Strategy

30 Employee satisfaction statistics every HR manager should know in 2020


We’ve rounded up 30 of the most pertinent employee satisfaction statistics every HR manager should know in 2020 to shed some light on the employee engagement landscape in South Africa and further afield. The results have been fascinating, to say the least.

Here you go!


  1. Employees who are actively disengaged in work could be losing the South African economy as much as R700 billion in lost revenue per year. This is based on UK and US statistics drawn up by industry expert Gallup.
  2. 88% of employees working at the Best Places to Work in Africa 2019 believe that their organisation is offering exciting career prospects, providing best-in-class learning and development programs and tools, as well as attractive employee conditions.
  3. Deloitte found that the 10 areas in which SA workers are most unhappy include:
    • A lack of competitive pay and benefits package
    • The inability of their company to retain top talent
    • Management not delivering promises
    • Management not showing adequate care and concern for employees
    • A lack of public recognition for achievements
    • A lack of performance rewards to encourage performance
    • No long-term career development prospects
    • A lack of equal pay for equal work
    • A lack of equal opportunity
    • Inadequate trust throughout the organisation
4. Almost half of South African employees (41%) feel that there is inconsistency when it comes to adequate communication provided by top management in SA organisations.
5. 25% feel that the current communication within their respective companies is inadequate.
6. 33% of SA employees polled said a positive employee experience was not a priority at their company, while 27% said there was movement towards improvement, but nothing is currently in place.
7. 57% of respondents indicated that employee experience was important as they are most productive when they feel valued.
8. 27% of respondents felt employee experience was non-negotiable and they cannot work in an organisation that doesn't prioritise its people.
9. 41% felt that they were held back from achieving exceptional employee experience because the company's focus was all on sales, rather than on its people.
10. Gallup reports that only 13% of employees working for organisations worldwide are engaged, and that this number has remained stagnant over the last 15 years. In South Africa, the Gallup survey produced alarming findings: only 9% of the workforce is actively engaged.

READ MORE: The lowdown on employee satisfaction surveys (and the questions you should be asking!)


11. Of the 91% who were disengaged, 45% were actively disengaged, meaning that they were very negative about their job and work environment, and likely to spread that negativity to co-workers.
12. Fewer than 20% of South Africans feel that their opinions count at work, or that their supervisors encourage their development.
13. 67% of the staff surveyed indicated that they want their managers to lead and communicate better.
14. A majority of South Africans in the workforce (58%) do not believe that they have adequate opportunity to contribute to decisions that affect them.
15. Of the South Africans surveyed, 20% were disinterested in their work, and while 50% reported that they were satisfied at work, employee satisfaction does not necessarily indicate that they are actively contributing to the success of the company they work for.
16. Over half of young South African professionals are unhappy in their jobs and are looking to change employers within the next 12 months.
17. On average, employees change jobs within the first two years of employment. The implications of this are that the employer carries the training and development costs to the benefit of other organisations.
18. Highly engaged teams show a 21% greater profitability.
19. Companies that invest in employee experience are four times more profitable than those who don't.
20. For every 1% increase in employee engagement, you can expect to see an additional 0.6% growth in sales for an organisation.

READ MORE: Employee satisfaction will boost your bottom line. Here’s how


21. Companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147%.
22. Companies that excel at customer experience have 1.5 times more engaged employees than companies with poor customer experience.
23. Employees and workplaces with high levels of engagement see fewer workplace accidents than those with lower engagement. Specifically, business units among the top 25% of engaged workplaces see 70% fewer incidents than those in the bottom 25%.
24. Disengaged workers have 37% higher absenteeism and commit 60% more errors. Companies with low engagement scores also suffer from 18% less productivity.
25. The Workplace Research Foundation reported that highly engaged employees were much more likely to have above-average productivity, sometimes up to 38%. That means that highly engaged employees are almost twice as likely to have above-average productivity.
26. 59% of engaged employees say that their job ‘brings out their most creative ideas’.
27. Employees who feel their superiors treat them with respect are 63% more satisfied with their jobs.
28. 83% of Millennials consider work-life balance to be the most important factor in evaluating a potential job.
29. 57% of SA employees working below supervisor level say that their performance is not linked to their reward—and this is likely to have a major impact on their engagement.
30. 71% of SA workers are willing to make an extra effort to meet goals at work if they are given the opportunity to learn, develop and progress.

These 30 employee satisfaction statistics all point to one important thing - employee engagement is no longer a nice to have. If you want your business to flourish in 2020 and beyond, it’s vital to take care of your workforce.

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