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Only one in five global workers "engaged"

BOSTON (Reuters) - Only one out of five employees of major global corporations is engaged in his or her work, and top managers may be to blame, according to a study released by a global professional services firm on Monday.

A survey of 90,000 workers in 18 countries by Towers Perrin found that only 21 percent of employees are engaged in their work, while 38 percent are disenchanted or disengaged. The study defined “engagement” as being willing to do more than is required to help their employers succeed and measured it by their responses to questions about their feelings about work, as well as their behaviour.

Mexicans proved to be the most engaged, followed by Brazilians and Indians. U.S. respondents ranked fourth.

The least engaged workers were the Japanese, followed by residents of Hong Kong and South Korea.

The study found that worker engagement was most driven by senior managers -- not by an employee’s upbringing or relationship with a direct manager.

“The organization itself is the most powerful influencer of employee engagement,” said Julie Gebauer, of Towers Perrin HR services, in a statement. “People’s views about the company are also shaped more by what senior leaders say and do than by what the individuals’ direct bosses say or do.”

By cross-referencing the survey data with the financial history of 40 companies whose employees were polled, the firm found that companies with the most engaged employees tended to do better financially than those whose workers were disengaged.

Despite the high level of disengagement, many workers say they are happy in their employment situations, with 86 percent reporting that they like or love their jobs and 84 percent saying they enjoy challenging work.

The survey was conducted in May and June.

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