Employee engagement statistics you need to know in 2023
If you thought employee engagement doesn’t matter, think again!
During our lives, we spend approximately 90,000 hours working. It would be comforting to think that we spend those hours engaged and satisfied, right?
Unfortunately, statistics are not so cheerful. Namely, only 21% of employees are engaged at work.
The problem is real and even has a price tag — low engagement costs the global economy $7.8 trillion.
We bring you the most interesting figures and statistics about employee engagement, including the statistics on:
- Why employee engagement is important,
- The cost of poor employee engagement, and
- Employee engagement across different generations, genders, and countries.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
What is employee engagement?
In their HR Glossary, SHRM defines employee engagement in the following way:
“Employee engagement is an employee’s satisfaction with their work and pride in their employer, to the extent to which people enjoy and believe in what they do for work and have the perception that their employer values what they bring to the table.”
This also means that engaged employees are not only motivated by their paycheck — they actually care about their work and their company.
Among the top drivers of employee engagement are:
- Trustworthy managers with clear strategies,
- Growth opportunities,
- Employee recognition,
- Employee autonomy, and
- Supportive surroundings.
Only when these employees’ needs are met can you expect employees to feel engaged at work.
However, there are 3 levels of employee engagement:
- Engaged — employees who are emotionally committed to their job,
- Not engaged — employees who are not so enthusiastic about their jobs, but they do what they need to, and
- Actively disengaged — unhappy employees who are spreading their negativity to others.
So, what happens when employees are not engaged or, worse yet, are actively disengaged? What are the consequences for their company?
Statistics on the cost of poor employee engagement
Poor employee engagement doesn’t affect only employees themselves — it’s not just a matter of personal dissatisfaction with a job. The repercussions of low employee engagement are much more serious (and costly) than you might think.
Namely, there is the exact price of employee disengagement — it’s estimated to be up to $500 billion a year.
Moreover, low employee engagement causes high turnover, which negatively affects employee morale and productivity. And — you guessed it right — there is a price tag. High turnover costs US organizations a trillion dollars a year.
Statistics on the benefits of employee engagement
Employee engagement has several benefits for the business.
In that light, employee engagement has a positive impact on the following:
- Profit, and
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Conversely, employee engagement negatively affects:
- Employee turnover,
- Workplace stress, and
- The risk of burnout.
Let’s see in detail what the numbers say about this.
Benefit #1: Employee engagement improves performance
According to Quantum Workplace’s report on employee engagement trends for 2023, a whopping 92% of executives claim engaged employees perform better than their disengaged coworkers. The same report underscores that 56% of CEOs say that their employees’ engagement efforts have caused positive ROI.
Similarly, in their State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, Gallup highlights a strong link between employee engagement and performance outcomes, including:
- Safety, and
Benefit #2: Employee engagement increases profit
In their recent global study of 41 multinational companies, company Willis Towers Watson found that organizations with highly engaged employees achieved profit margins 5 times higher than their disengaged counterparts.
Similarly, the same report shows, companies where levels of employee engagement were high had more than 2 times better earnings than those companies with below-average employee engagement.
The previously mentioned Gallup’s report on the state of the global workplace reveals that companies with high levels of employee engagement have 23% higher profit than companies where employee engagement is low.
Benefit #3: Employee engagement has a positive impact on promoting DEI
Diversity, equity, and inclusion and employee engagement are interconnected. Namely, the more included (diverse) workforce feels, the higher their engagement in the organization.
According to the Global Industry Report on Impact of Employee Engagement Driving Diversity and Inclusion, 3.2 times more employees show higher levels of engagement in organizations that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion.
This report also shows that ¼ of surveyed female employees and ⅕ of surveyed male employees believe that employee feedback is a powerful employee engagement tool for attracting a diverse workforce.
Moreover, Kincentric’s report Global Trends in Employee Engagement 2022 shows that levels of engagement are 8.4 times higher and levels of intent to stay are 5 times greater when key inclusion behaviors are present in an organization. Employees feel included when they feel:
- They belong in the workplace,
- Their work is valued, and
- They can speak up and be acknowledged.
The intent to stay in the company leads us to our next benefit of employee engagement — the reduction of employee turnover.
Benefit #4: Employee engagement reduces employee turnover
When the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its April 2021 edition of the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, it was clear that a precedent had taken place. Namely, the report stated that 4 million Americans quit their jobs just in April. It was a 20-year record. This data especially hits hard on HR specialists, who know better than the rest that keeping your current employees is as important as hiring new talent.
In that light, Lattice’s State of People Strategy Report 2021 showed that 43% of respondents cited employee engagement as their top priority over the next year. Similarly, 40% of the surveyed said talent acquisition is paramount over the next 12 months.
The same report states that to prevent employee turnover, you need to improve employee engagement. Among other components, improving employee engagement includes organizing cultural events and taking engagement surveys. Both of those initiatives scored high among the respondents — at 68% and 67%, respectively. Other crucial components of employee engagement were work-life balance (63%) and pulse surveys (49%), as shown in the graphic below.
Benefit #5: Employee engagement reduces absenteeism
Given the fact that the average number of PTO days in the US is 11, employers expect you to be absent from work no more than a day a month.
According to Gallup’s report Employee Engagement vs. Employee Satisfaction and Organizational Culture, companies with highly engaged employees noticed an 81% difference in absenteeism.
In other words, the more engaged the employee is, the less absenteeism there will be.
Benefit #6: Employee engagement reduces employees’ stress
Research by Gallup shows that engaged employees experience significantly less stress, anger, and health problems.
Moreover, when employees feel they’re being recognized for doing a good job, they thrive. However, according to the previously mentioned research on the state of the global workplace, this is a reality for only 21% of employees. The rest can — for now — only dream about it.
Of course, even engaged and thriving employees face difficulties and stress at work, but at half the rate as disengaged employees.
The same report shows that 95% of thriving and engaged employees claim they feel respected at work. What’s more, 87% of them say they smile and laugh a lot in the workplace.
Benefit #7: Employee engagement decreases burnout
Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace survey shows that our general well-being affects our working life — and vice versa. Namely, engaged employees who are not thriving at work have a 61% higher chance of experiencing burnout than those who are both engaged and thriving.
Similarly, in their report The State of Workplace Burnout 2023, Infinite Potential underscores that “the impact of engagement, psychological safety, belonging and wellbeing — and their ability to potentially prevent burnout — is remarkable.”
More precisely, this report shows that people who aren’t burnt out are 49% more engaged than people who experience burnout.
Aside from that, they feel:
- 30% higher sense of belonging,
- 50% more psychological safety, and
- 217% more supported by their company.
The link between employee engagement and reduction of burnout is significant, especially if we take into account that, according to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, 48% of employees experience burnout at work.
This report indicates that Gen Z and Millennials are especially vulnerable to burnout. As a matter of fact, 53% of employees from these two generations have experienced workplace burnout. On the other hand, a significantly smaller percentage of Baby Boomers — 43% of them — had this mental health problem.
Overall global employee engagement statistics
The data from the previously mentioned Gallup’s report — State of the Global Workplace 2022 — show that globally only 21% of employees are engaged.
Aside from that, 19% of employees are actively disengaged — in other words, miserable at work.
More importantly, the report states that:
- 59% of disengaged employees regularly report feeling stressed at work,
- 56% of them regularly feel worried, and
- 31% of them feel anger on a daily basis.
These numbers hit hard, especially if we take into account that they are 46-83% higher than an engaged employee would report.
In the following paragraphs, we’ll dive into this matter further, analyzing statistics on employee engagement across:
- Different work models,
- Job types,
- Different generations, and
- The globe.
Statistics on employee engagement across genders
The 2022 study Working Conditions and Work Engagement by Gender and Digital Work Intensity underscores that women in general are more engaged at work than men, regardless of whether they work remotely or in-office.
Similarly, Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace 2022 shows women are more engaged than men. More specifically, 23% of female employees reported feeling engaged, whereas only 20% of surveyed male employees reported the same.
However, Gallup reports there was a greater decline in employee engagement among women than among men in comparison with the previous year. Employee engagement decreased by:
- 4 points among women and
- Only 1 point among men.
Also, active disengagement increased by:
- 3 points among female employees and
- Only 1 point among male employees.
The same report underlines there were more substantial declines in women:
- Feeling cared about in the workplace and
- Having an encouraging mentor with whom they can discuss their progress.
Statistics on employee engagement across different work models
According to the 2023 Workplace Experience Trends & Insights Report, when working remotely, employees struggle to feel engaged with their work and connected to their colleagues.
The same report underscores that hybrid employees experience bigger problems than remote employees when it comes to employee engagement. Namely, 35% of hybrid employees don’t feel engaged at work. At the same time, only 22% of remote employees report low engagement levels at work.
On the other hand, Gallup reports there has been a significant employee engagement decline in the US from 2019 to 2022 with workers who practice hybrid and on-site work models. Those of them who are currently working on-site have experienced the largest decline (5 percentage points) in employee engagement. Also, their disengagement levels increased by 7 points in comparison to 2019.
Statistics on employee engagement across job types
When employee engagement across different industries is concerned, Gallup’s study has shown that the worst decline from 2019 to 2022 happened among healthcare workers — 7 points decline in the percentage engaged.
Moreover, white-collar workers reported a 4-point decrease.
As far as engagement by level in the organization is concerned, individual contributors and project managers suffered the greatest decline — by 6 points. At the same time, their levels of active disengagement increased by 4 points.
Statistics on employee engagement across different generations
SHRM’s study The Aging Workforce: Leveraging the Talents of Mature Employees reveals that older workers are more engaged than younger workers. Namely, employee engagement levels are higher among employees in their late 40s and above than among employees below 40.
Similarly, Gallup’s report Generation Disconnected: Data on Gen Z in the Workplace shows slightly different levels of engagement among members of different generations:
- 33% of Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are engaged at work,
- 32% of members of Generation X (born 1965–1979) and older Millennials (1980–1988) report high engagement levels, and
- 31% of younger Millennials and Gen Z (born in 1989 and after) are engaged in their workplace.
On the other hand, actively disengaged are:
- 15% of younger Millennials and Gen Z,
- 17% of older Millennials,
- 17% of Baby Boomers, and
- 19% of members of Generation X.
The same report shows that the reason for this data lies in the fact that younger generations experience more stress and burnout than older generations. Namely, 68% of Gen Zers and younger Millennials often feel stressed. A much lower number of Baby Boomers (40% of them) report feeling stressed a lot of the time.
Additionally, Gallup’s report U.S. Employee Engagement Needs a Rebound in 2023 shows that from 2019 to 2022 engagement levels for young Millennials and Gen Zers decreased by 4 points, whereas they decreased by 2 points among older workers. Also, active disengagement among younger workers (under the age of 35) increased by 4 points, while it increased by just 1 percentage point among older workers.
Statistics on employee engagement across the globe
We already mentioned Gallup’s data about global employee engagement statistics, but now it’s time we deal with the regional differences represented in that report.
Although globally 21% of employees report high levels of employee engagement, the differences across the globe are significant.
For instance, 33% of the US and Canadian employees are engaged in their workplaces, which is significantly above the global average. Conversely, only 14% of European employees report feeling engaged at work — well below the global average.
It’s time we consider these differences in more detail — region by region, starting from the US and Canada.
Employee engagement in the US and Canada
Although, according to Gallup’s research, only 32% of US employees were engaged in 2022, some companies have diametrically opposed employee experience. Namely, the average employee engagement level among Gallup’s Exceptional Workplace Award winners was a whopping 72%.
Noteworthy, even though the US and Canada have some of the most stressed employees globally — around 50% of this region’s employees report being stressed daily — they also have the most engaged employees — 33%, as Gallup’s findings show.
The decline in employee engagement in the US and Canada was only 1 percentage point compared to 2020.
Interestingly, female employees were a bit more engaged than their male colleagues, 35% to 31% respectively.
Another striking data from the 2022 report shows levels of engagement were not influenced by the age of employees. Namely, both the workers below the age of 40 and those above it reported the same level of engagement — 33%.
Employee engagement in Europe
Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace indicates that European employees’ engagement levels are significantly lower than the global average (21%) — reportedly, 14% of Europeans are engaged at work.
There are no remarkable differences in employee engagement between the female workers (14% of them are engaged) and their male colleagues (13% of them report being engaged at work).
The situation is the same as far as the difference in employee engagement between younger workers (<40 years) and older workers (>40 years) is concerned, as shown in the table below.
Moreover, Gallup’s report underscores the stagnation in employee engagement in Europe as a longer decadal trend. Namely, engagement levels in European countries have barely changed in the past decade. Unfortunately, in most European countries, fewer than 20% of employees are engaged in their workplace.
At the very bottom of the list is Italy, with an employee engagement level of just 4%. Conversely, Romania leads the way and shows much higher employee engagement levels than the global average — 33%.
The country that has shown remarkable progress in this field — with an increase of 9 points percentage when compared to the data from 2018 — is Lithuania. Now, 24% of Lithuanians report being engaged in their day-to-day work activities.
Also worth mentioning are the countries that have raised their engagement levels by 5 points:
- North Macedonia,
- Latvia, and
Employee engagement in Latin America and the Caribbean
Previously mentioned Gallup’s study on the State of the Global Workplace shows a more promising situation in Latin America and the Caribbean than in Europe.
Namely, speaking of employee engagement across genders in this region, the difference is not so significant. To be specific, 24% of female employees report feeling engaged at work, whereas 22% of their male colleagues report the same.
When we compare employee engagement levels across different generations, the situation is following the global trends — older workers are more engaged than younger ones. Namely, 25% of older and 21% of younger workers are engaged in the workplace.
Although regional engagement is 23%, there are no drastic differences among the individual countries’ engagement levels.
Nicaragua and Panama are at the top of the list, with an engagement level of 34%. The greatest increase in employee engagement levels happened in the Dominican Republic. Their employee engagement has risen 4 points from 2018.
On the other hand, it’s not all rosy in Venezuela and Argentina. Their workers report a 6-point decline in employee engagement compared to 2018.
Employee engagement in the Commonwealth of Independent States
Before we dive into facts and figures, let’s see what countries constitute the Commonwealth of Independent States. These are:
- Ukraine, and
The regional employee engagement level is 20%, slightly lower than the global average.
The difference in employee engagement across genders is a bit more striking than in other regions. The table below shows the exact data.
Speaking of employee engagement differences among the members of different generations, everything is as expected. Workers older than 40 years are more engaged (22%) than those younger than 40 years (19%).
Now, let’s consider the data from individual countries of this region.
Although its employees’ engagement levels declined by 1 point since 2018, Uzbekistan is still number one on the list, with an employee engagement level of 34%.
Azerbaijan is at the very end of the list, as only 9% of the workers from this country feel engaged at work.
The greatest progress in the field of employee engagement was made by Armenia, with a 6-point increase since 2018.
Interestingly, none of the countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States reported an employee engagement level decrease greater than 1 point percentage. Aside from the already mentioned Uzbekistan, Russia also suffered a 1-point decline in employee engagement in the last few years.
However, there is not enough data on employee engagement from Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
Employee engagement in the Middle East and North Africa
To be clear about the countries we’re going to talk about in the next few paragraphs, we’ll list all the countries that comprise the Middle East and North Africa:
- Palestinian Territories,
- Saudi Arabia,
- United Arab Emirates, and
Overall regional employee engagement level is 15%, which is notably lower than the global average.
Interestingly enough, employee engagement levels are differently distributed across genders than in most other regions. As a matter of fact, male employees are more engaged at work than their female colleagues — their engagement levels are 16% and 13%, respectively.
Also noteworthy is that younger workers are more engaged than older employees. Namely, 16% of employees under the age of 40 report being engaged at work. On the other hand, only 13% of their older colleagues (age 40 and older) say their level of engagement is high.
Let’s look at the most interesting data concerning the individual countries. However, the data for Palestinian Territories and Yemen is not provided, due to the small sample size.
On the top of the list is the United Arab Emirates, where 25% of employed citizens state they feel engaged at work. Conversely, at the bottom is Algeria — with only 7% of engaged employees.
The biggest change concerning employee engagement happened in Saudi Arabia, where the levels of engagement increased by 7 percentage points. However, the biggest decrease in employee engagement levels transpired in Iraq and Morocco — where the levels dropped by 3 percentage points.
Employee engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa consists of the following countries:
- Burkina Faso,
- Côte d’Ivoire,
- The Republic of the Congo,
- Sierra Leone,
- South Africa,
- The Gambia,
- Zambia, and
The average regional engagement in Sub-Saharan Africa is the same as the global average — 21%.
The difference in engagement between genders is almost non-existent — 20% of female employees and 22% of male employees say they are engaged in the workplace.
Moreover, the difference in employee engagement across generations is clear-cut:
- 19% of employees younger than 40 are engaged at work and
- 28% of their older colleagues report the same level of engagement.
Speaking of levels of employee engagement in the individual countries, we have an interesting record — an amazing number of 43% of employees in Mali are engaged.
The lowest level of engagement is found in Ethiopia — 11%.
Since 2018, the country that has seen the highest increase in engagement among its employees is Burkina Faso, with an 8 percentage point increase. Conversely, the greatest drop in employee engagement happened in Uganda — 3 percentage points.
Employee engagement in East Asia
Before we dive into data about employee engagement, let’s see what countries East Asia comprises of:
- Hong Kong, S.A.R. of China,
- South Korea,
- Taiwan, and
- Province of China.
East Asia has below global average employee engagement — 17%.
Female workers are much more engaged than male ones, as you can see in the table below.
Unsurprisingly, older workers show higher levels of engagement than younger workers. To be specific, 20% of employees older than 40 are engaged, whereas only 16% of their younger colleagues (below 40) show engagement in the workplace.
As far as the individual countries go, the most engaged employees live in Mongolia. There, 37% of employees consider themselves engaged in the workplace. Contrariwise, only 5% of employees in Japan say they are engaged at work.
Mongolia is, at the same time, a country that has seen the largest increase in employee engagement level since 2018 — 3 percentage points. Hong Kong, on the other hand, had the biggest decrease in engagement level in East Asia — 1 percentage point.
Employee engagement in South Asia
The following countries are found in South Asia:
- Pakistan, and
- Sri Lanka.
Their overall employee engagement level is a bit higher than the global average — 27%.
There are slight differences in employee engagement across genders. Women are still the more engaged gender, with 28% of female workers feeling engaged in the workplace. Their male colleagues are not that far behind — 26% of them reported being engaged at work.
Generational differences are even less prominent. Younger workers are a bit more engaged at work than their older colleagues — 27% to 26%, respectively.
While there is no data from Afghanistan, due to the small sample size, other countries fare pretty well when employee engagement is concerned. Bangladesh takes the cake with 40% of engaged employees. Pakistan is the last on the list, with an employee engagement of 13%.
Bangladesh is also a country with the highest increase in engagement levels since 2018 — 3 percentage points. On the other hand, Nepal has suffered the greatest decrease in engagement — 5 points.
Employee engagement in Southeast Asia
In our wish to be precise, again, we’ll name the countries that comprise Southeast Asia:
- Thailand, and
This part of the world boasts a slightly higher employee engagement level than the global average — 24%.
When gender is concerned, there isn’t a huge gap. What’s surprising, though, is the fact that male employees are more engaged — 25% of them. Women, on the other hand, follow them closely, with an engagement level of 22%.
The breach is a bit bigger when it comes to different generations. Particularly, employees older than 40 are by 6 percentage points more engaged than the younger generations, as illustrated in the table below.
Of the individual countries, the Philippines takes the first place, with an engagement level of 31%. Singapore is at the bottom of this list, as only 13% of its employees are engaged at work.
Vietnam has shown the greatest progress since 2018 — 3 percentage points, while the least amount of advancement in the field of employee engagement was made by the Philippines. The level of engagement in that country has decreased by 1 point. Still, this country remains the leader in employee engagement in the region.
Employee engagement in Australia and New Zealand
Last but not least, Australia and New Zealand have a lower engagement level than the global average — 17%.
Female workers are less engaged in the workplace than male workers — 16% as opposed to 18%.
As far as generational differences in employee engagement are concerned, they are inconclusive, as the data for workers under 40 years are not provided, due to the small sample size. However, only 15% of their older colleagues feel engaged at work.
When we look at the data about the individual countries of the region, there are literally no differences at all. Both the employees from Australia and New Zealand have a level of engagement of 19%. Also, there was no change in the percentage since 2018.
Wrapping up: Poor employee engagement costs companies too much to be ignored
If we take into account the fact that we spend a third of our lifetime at work, the matter of taking employee engagement seriously becomes even more important. If that’s not enough of a reason to get you interested in employee engagement, maybe the information that disengagement costs US companies $500 billion a year is.
Aside from that, the benefits of high employee engagement include:
- The reduction of absenteeism and turnover,
- Promoting DEI,
- Improvement of performance and productivity,
- Decrease in burnout and stress, and
- Increase in profit.
Statistics show that global employee engagement is on the decline. However, there are individual countries that have not succumbed to the trend, as you could see in our employee engagement statistics across the globe.
Also, in general, female employees are more engaged at work than their male colleagues. The same goes for older employees in comparison with younger workers.
Whatever the condition in your company is, keep in mind that the increase in employee engagement may only make your workplace more harmonious and successful.
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