Study: 70% of Americans don’t like their jobs — what about you?

Worker engagement levels haven't changed much since 2000, says Gallup.

Worker engagement levels haven’t changed much since 2000, says Gallup.

A majority of U.S. workers are not engaged at their jobs and it’s costing the country $450 billion to $550 billion each year in lost productivity.

Those are the latest findings from Gallup’s State of the American Workplace Report, which found that 70 percent of American workers are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” and are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and less likely to be productive.

These statistics have actually stayed pretty consistent since 2000, as fewer than one-third of Americans are typically “engaged” in their jobs every year. Gallup called this “troubling.”

“Having the vast majority of American employees not engaged with their workplaces is troublesome as the country attempts to recover ground lost during the financial crisis and get back on track to pre-recession levels of prosperity,” the firm wrote in its report, which surveyed more than 151,000 full and part-time workers 18 and older during 2012.

In Washington alone, just over 72 percent are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged,” which is about at the national average. Louisiana had the highest level of employee engagement, while Minnesota finished with the lowest.

Gallup said its research found that engagement is “strongly connected to business outcomes essential to an organization’s financial success, including productivity, profitability, and customer satisfaction.” It also found that employees allowed to work remotely are more engaged and actually log four more hours per week, on average, than those stationed at the office — take that, Marissa Mayer.

In terms of company size affecting productivity, the highest engagement level was in companies with fewer than 10 people, not surprisingly. Finally, Gallup reported that Baby Boomers have the lowest level of engagement among the generations.

gallup121Here’s how Gallup defines each category:

Engaged: Engaged employees work with passion and feel a profound connection to their company. They drive innovation and move the organization forward.

Not Engaged: 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: 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.

And here is the 12-question survey that Gallup uses to measure employee engagement. The firm says these questions “are the best predictors of employee and workgroup performance.”

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. I have a best friend at work.
  11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.

How did you answer these questions?

  • Guest

    Disengaged == reading Geekwire while at work.

    • Sarah

      haha.
      What’s your dream job?

  • sparklingsoul

    This article makes me feel that I’m not alone in my disengagement. The media makes it seem like everyone should be in a high-powered, successful career, if only they work hard enough and long enough. The truth is that most of us are stuck in a narrow, extremely repetitive job, and stuck in a office eight hours a day (both physically and mentally unhealthy).

    • Sarah

      I’m sorry for you that you’re stuck in an office all day :(
      What’s your dream job?