Meaningfulness at Work 2024

Nicolai E. E. Iversen

Voluntās was created from the fundamental belief that all human beings have the inherent right to live a meaningful life. That is why we exist: To realize human potential in all corridors of life – making every workplace, community, and country on the planet full of hope and dignity.

Every year, we study how employees feel organizations perform when it comes to fostering a meaningful workplace – a place where there is a strong sense of purpose, leadership, belonging, and personal growth. Meaningful workplaces ensure the best possible conditions for realizing human potential.

To have like-minded partners join in pursuing our impact of making more lives more meaningful, we are honored to this year have partnered with the DI Federation of Danish Professional Service Firms.


The four primary insights

1. Globally, meaningfulness at work determines 49% of meaning in life.

Meaningfulness at work accounts for 49% of the overall sense of meaning in life globally. However, this varies by country; in India, work is a strong predictor of meaning in life (76%), whereas in Ukraine, work contributes less (18%) to overall meaning in life.

2. Leadership is the least important driver and also the lowest-performing driver.

Leadership is the least important driver of meaningfulness at work, with only 7% of respondents worldwide considering it the most important. It is also the lowest-performing driver, primarily due to leaders’ inability to inspire employees to reflect on the organization’s purpose.

3. Youngest generations experience the lowest sense of meaning.

Young professionals under 25 experience the least meaning at work, continuing a trend from 2023. They feel significantly less safe to speak their minds, feel less challenged in their jobs, and struggle to understand the importance of their role within their organizations.

4. The employee who experiences the most meaning is more than 65 years old and works in Mexico or India as a full-time HR professional within financial services.

The employee who experiences the least meaning is 24 years old and works in Australia or UK as a part-time supply chain worker within chemicals.


Measuring meaningfulness

– a never-ending quest

I founded Voluntās nine years ago, and this is the fifth edition of the Meaningfulness at Work Report. A Report that represents my own and Voluntās’ never-ending quest to explore what constitutes meaningfulness in our lives in general and at work in particular. For this reason, it’s also only natural that we want, in the years to come, to increase the number of respondents and countries and that we want to constantly challenge, improve, and sophisticate our methodology to fulfill our aim of creating a genuinely global report that yields unique insights on how the sense of meaning is evolving on the international labor market. While we are humble enough to acknowledge that our Meaningfulness at Work Report 2024 isn’t completely global yet and that our method, of course, will be strengthened for each report we publish, then we are equally proud that we, with this report, publish what is unquestionably one of the most extensive studies ever done on the anatomy of meaning at work. We invite even more academic research partners, as well as privatepublic collaborations, foundations, think tanks, etc., to join in on our pursuit of understanding, measuring, and increasing meaningfulness at work – because feeling meaning in the work you do is a vital part of living a meaningful life.


Meaningfulness at Work Report #24

This years report is now available for download.