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Employee Engagement
Jobs Outlook Grim in Countries With More Disengaged Workers
Employee Engagement

Jobs Outlook Grim in Countries With More Disengaged Workers

by Jim Harter, Sangeeta Agrawal, and Susan Sorenson
Jobs Outlook Grim in Countries With More Disengaged Workers

Story Highlights

  • Higher percentages of engaged employees linked to job creation
  • Countries with more engaged workers more upbeat about market
  • Engagement also linked to views of climate for new businesses

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Actively disengaged employees may be costly to their country's economy and to their company's bottom line. Across 90 countries surveyed between 2011 and 2012, unemployment and underemployment rates were higher in those with higher percentages of actively disengaged employees.

unemployment and underemployment

Though engaged employees are emotionally invested in creating value for their organizations, actively disengaged workers spread discord among colleagues and customers and thwart organizational performance. In its 2013 State of the Global Workplace report, Gallup found 13% of the world's workers are engaged in their jobs, 63% are not engaged and 24% are actively disengaged. This means that actively disengaged employees outnumber engaged employees by 2-to-1 on a global scale. The connection between high percentages of actively disengaged workers and a weakened employment market underscores how perilous this 2-to-1 ratio is to job growth in economies worldwide.

Countries with the highest percentages of actively disengaged workers had nearly twice as many residents unemployed (14%) as the countries with the fewest actively disengaged employees (8%). Further, more than one in five (22%) residents in countries with the highest percentage of actively disengaged workers were underemployed, meaning they were unemployed or employed part time but seeking full-time work, compared with fewer than one in five (16%) in the group of countries where the fewest are actively disengaged. These differences persist even after accounting for a country's geographic region, meaning the problem crosses regions and countries worldwide.

Countries With Higher Percentages of Engaged Workers More Likely to See Job Creation

While actively disengaged workers are an indicator of underemployment or unemployment, countries with higher percentages of engaged workers are more likely to see job creation. About four in 10 (38%) of those in the countries with the highest percentages of engaged employees reported that their companies were hiring new people and expanding the size of their workforce. Roughly three in 10 (28%) of those in countries with the lowest percentages of engaged workers said the same.

hiring and letting go

Taken together, these findings reflect dramatically diverging perspectives between residents of countries with high percentages of actively disengaged employees and those in countries with higher percentages of engaged employees. Residents of the former are more pessimistic about the job market in their country, saying their jobs are not ideal for them and expressing dissatisfaction with the availability of good job opportunities in the city or area where they live.

job is ideal

Residents of countries with higher percentages of engaged employees were generally more upbeat about the employment situation, saying that it is a good time to find a job in their local job market and that the city or area where they live is a good place for people starting new businesses.

good time to find job and good place to start a biz

Bottom Line

While labor markets worldwide are still recovering from the global recession, some have much higher unemployment and underemployment rates than others. Countries that have higher percentages of actively disengaged workers have higher unemployment and underemployment rates. These countries have higher percentages of workers who are unhappy in their current jobs and with the available employment options, suggesting a national business culture of low job creation and miserable workplaces. These two problems are appear inseparable: In countries with higher percentages of engaged workers, residents are more likely to say it is a good time to find a job in their local area and that their community is a good place for people starting new businesses. Additionally, employees in countries with more engaged workers report more job growth.

The broader economic environment in countries also likely contributes to job insecurity and workers' ability to find jobs where they can do what they do best. It would be beneficial for country leaders and policymakers to work with business owners to increase opportunities for job growth. And business owners should recognize the importance of hiring and developing great managers to help improve engagement and performance in their workforces, which could have an effect on their country's overall economy.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with 610,014 adults, aged 18 and older, in 90 countries from 2011 to 2012. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error ranges from a low of ±2 percentage points to a high of ±7 percentage points. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

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Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/179096/jobs-outlook-grim-countries-disengaged-workers.aspx
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