The United States is home to the third-most-engaged group of workers in the world, not that that's saying much. Only 13 percent of the world’s workers say that they’re engaged in the work they’re doing at their jobs, according to a Gallup study.
In the U.S., with 30 percent of workers engaged in on-the-job work, that proportion is more than double that of the majority of other nations. Both Panama (37 percent) and Costa Rica (33 percent) were the only two countries with a better metric than that of the U.S.
Of the remaining 70 percent, 18 percent said they were “actively disengaged,” which according to Gallup means that they were actively undermining what their engaged colleagues were accomplishing -- which, again, is still better than the world average of 24 percent.
On the other end of the spectrum, Syria, Croatia and Israel were the countries with the lowest rates of worker engagement.
The study also found that a higher proportion of worker engagement was directly linked to job growth. Organizations who were hiring were far more likely to have a large proportion of engaged employees.
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The types of jobs workers were engaged in and their level of education were an important indicator of how likely they were to be engaged, the study found.
Professional workers and those in leadership roles were more likely than those in less individualized roles to be engaged, the study found.
Higher-educated professionals were also much more likely to be engaged with their work, the study showed. This effect was far more pronounced in developing regions, like sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, where a smaller proportion of the population was likely to have gotten a university degree.
Here’s how Gallup defined the terms “engaged,” “not engaged” and “actively disengaged”:
“Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.”
“Not engaged employees are essentially checked out. They’re sleepwalking through their workday, putting time -- but not energy or passion -- into their work.”
“Actively disengaged employees aren’t just unhappy at work; they’re busy acting out their unhappiness. Every day, these workers undermine what their engaged coworkers accomplish.”
Here’s a map of the 93 countries surveyed by Gallup, color-coded by the proportion of workers who said they were engaged in their jobs. Click on any country for more info:
Here’s a map of countries color-coded by the proportion of actively disengaged workers:
Many countries in Western Europe, like Spain and Greece, are dealing with the highest unemployment rates they’ve seen in recent history. But the scarcity of jobs doesn’t meant that the workers who have them appreciate them. In Western Europe, there are approximately two engaged workers for every three workers who are actively disengaged -- the region is lagging far behind other developed regions.
But the region with the highest proportion of actively disengaged workers was Sub-Saharan Africa, with almost half of all workers falling into the “actively disengaged” category.
The situation is similar in the Middle East, where 35 percent said they fell into that category. And that’s not all -- one in three of “actively disengaged workers” said that they had felt angry the day before taking Gallup’s survey.
While most workers in East Asia aren’t actively disengaged, this region also had the lowest proportion of engaged employees -- only 6 percent.
In South Asia and South-East Asia, worker engagement rates are low, but the proportion of actively disengaged workers is also low.
Australia and New Zealand have the highest proportion of engaged workers to disengaged workers -- with three engaged workers for every two disengaged workers, but the region suffers from a high proportion of disengaged workers in leadership positions.