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U.S. Engagement Hits 11-Year Low

U.S. Engagement Hits 11-Year Low

Continuing a downward trend, employee engagement in the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level in more than a decade.

Last year, Gallup found U.S. employees were increasingly detached from their employers, with the workforce reporting less role clarity, lower satisfaction with their organizations and less connection to their companies’ mission or purpose. Employees were also less likely to feel someone at work cares about them.

The drop in these employee engagement elements was particularly acute in remote, hybrid and younger workers. By the end of 2023, 33% of U.S. employees overall were highly engaged, meaning they were highly involved and enthusiastic about their work and workplaces.

Unfortunately, the first quarter of 2024 continued this downward trend, with engagement dropping three percentage points to 30% among both full- and part-time employees. This decline represents 4.8 million fewer employees who are engaged in their work and workplace, marking the lowest reported level of engagement since 2013.

Employee engagement trends are significant because they link to many important performance outcomes crucial to organizational leaders such as productivity, employee retention, customer service, safety incidents, quality of work and profitability.


In the first quarter of 2024, 17% of employees were actively disengaged, one point higher than the 16% for the full year of 2023 and equivalent to the percentage actively disengaged in the fourth quarter of 2023. The U.S. now has a ratio of 1.8 engaged employees for every actively disengaged employee. This compares to a ratio of 2.1-to-1 in 2023.

The 2024 first quarter finding is the lowest percentage engaged and ratio of engaged to actively disengaged employees since 2013, where 30% were engaged and the ratio was 1.6 engaged for every actively disengaged employee. The record-high percentage of engaged employees was recorded in 2020, at 36%. Since that peak, six points fewer, or 9.6 million fewer workers are now engaged.

The recent drops in employee engagement have been most pronounced in the following categories:

  • younger employees under 35 (down five points), particularly Generation Z employees (down six points) who also feel less connected to their organization’s culture
  • employees who could do their jobs remotely but work exclusively on-site (down six points)
  • employees who exclusively work from home (down five points)

Some Organizations Are Bucking the Downward Trend

Even amid this overall downward trend, the best-run organizations that Gallup has studied are managing to hold their own -- or have even improved their cultures -- during the challenging past four years during and following the pandemic.

These top-performing organizations average 70% engaged employees and a ratio of 14 engaged to every actively disengaged employee, more than seven times the U.S. average. They exist across industries and geographies. The inspiring workplace cultures they have built have been strategically planned and intentional.

Many have created hybrid working environments that fit their cultures, with clear overall expectations, supported by coaching managers who combine flexibility with accountability. They have effective onboarding programs for new employees and holistic and multidimensional approaches to wellbeing, offering a range of services and resources.

Be proactive about engagement at your organization.



Jim Harter, Ph.D., is Chief Scientist, Workplace for Gallup and bestselling author of Culture Shock, Wellbeing at Work, It's the Manager, 12: The Elements of Great Managing and Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements. His research is also featured in the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller, First, Break All the Rules. Dr. Harter has led more than 1,000 studies of workplace effectiveness, including the largest ongoing meta-analysis of human potential and business-unit performance. His work has also appeared in many publications, including Harvard Business Review, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and in many prominent academic journals.

Sangeeta Agrawal contributed analysis to this article.

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