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Employee Engagement
U.S. Employee Engagement Slips Below 33% in May
Employee Engagement

U.S. Employee Engagement Slips Below 33% in May

by Amy Adkins
Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • 32.7% of U.S. workers engaged in their jobs
  • Monthly averages holding better than in 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The percentage of U.S. workers whom Gallup considers "engaged" in their jobs averaged 32.7% in May. While still among the better monthly averages on record, May follows two consecutive months in which employee engagement averages remained at or above 33.0% -- a rare occurrence in Gallup's history of tracking the metric.


Employee engagement has generally been trending upward for the past three years. In 2015, the metric was largely stable, registering between 31.5% and 32.1% for much of the year. However, the monthly average for December rose to 32.8%, setting the stage for a stronger start to 2016. Aside from February's average, monthly employee engagement figures this year have tracked higher than monthly averages in 2015. Monthly averages in 2016 have not fallen below 32.5% at any point.

In May, an additional 50.9% of employees were "not engaged" and 16.4% were "actively disengaged."

The May 2016 employee engagement average is based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted with 7,327 U.S. adults working for an employer. Gallup categorizes workers as "engaged" based on their level of agreement with key workplace elements -- such as having an opportunity to do what they do best each day, having someone at work who encourages their development and believing their opinions count at work -- that predict important organizational performance outcomes.

Engaged employees are involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work. Gallup's extensive research shows that employee engagement is strongly connected to business outcomes essential to an organization's financial success, such as productivity, profitability and customer engagement. Engaged employees drive the innovation, growth and revenue that their companies need.

Bottom Line

Despite dropping below 33.0%, the May employee engagement average remains higher than it was in 2015 and is in line with the generally stronger monthly averages Gallup has recorded over the past six months. Organizations appear to be making incremental -- but important -- progress in employee engagement, pushing engagement closer to the rare 33.0% mark. Certain economic factors may also be encouraging some improvement in engagement levels. For example, the Gallup Good Jobs rate and the Gallup Job Creation Index are at high points in their trends.

While employee engagement has not been found to be seasonal, monthly averages in June 2014 and 2015 were higher than averages for May in those same years. If the pattern repeats this year, engagement may return to or surpass 33.0%. However, employee engagement averages struggled to reach even 32.0% in the first week of June, perhaps signaling a return to pre-2016 levels.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted May 1-31, 2016, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 7,327 U.S. adults employed full or part time for an employer, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of employed adults, the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

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