70% of American Workforce “Not Engaged” at Work Says Gallup

Gallup recently released their annual State of the American Workplace report which informs us that 70% of the American workforce is at least “not engaged” at work. Making up that 70% number are 52% who are “not engaged” and 18% who are “actively disengaged”.

Maybe these less than engaged employees should have asked these 5 questions before applying for the job.

An employee that is “not engaged” is someone who is just going through the motions (i.e. putting in time, but no energy or passion). Gallup splits the results into 3 groups: engaged, not engaged, and actively disengaged.

Engagement level was judged by asking questions like:

  • Do you have the materials and equipment you need to do your job right?
  • Do you know what is expected of you at work?
  • Does the mission or purpose of the company make you feel your job is important?

The results aren’t much different from previous years. In fact, this year’s results show some of the highest levels of engagement since 2007.

“…it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.” – Peter from Office Space

Where you are from could help determine how engaged you are at work. Or it could just be correlated to other factors like education level. Either way, Minnesota, Vermont, and Delaware had the least engaged workforce. While Louisiana, Oklahoma, and South Dakota were the most engaged.

Other findings: employees with college degrees tend to be less engaged, as do men (vs women), and Millennials and Baby Boomers (vs other generations).

Are you disengaged at work? Check out these stories of entrepreneurs who used their low engagement jobs as a catalyst to start something on their own.

Last Edited: June 27, 2013 @ 9:28 am The content of ptmoney.com is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to ptmoney.com should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, FinCon CEO, and husband and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or view the Philip Taylor+ Google profile.


  1. ayoungpro says:

    As someone who is just starting their career, this survey makes me happy. If those statistics are true it should make it much easier for me to rise up the ranks because I am extremely motivated and engaged at work. :)

    • GaelicWench says:

      ayoungpro You may be the exception rather than the rule. I, too, tend to be engaged to my job no matter what it is. What I find truly annoying is when others aren’t and they complain, take shortcuts, do shabby work, get out of doing the dirty work, etc. This is especially true in the retail industry.

      As a result, I’ve decided on a change of venue by going to school short-term, and then getting into a hospital setting as a pharmacy tech rather than in a Walgreens or Walmart retail environment. And lastly, I’m currently in nw PA but will relocate to MO in the next year.

  2. EmilyGuyBirken1 says:

    @ayoungpro, there is a definite disadvantage to being the only engaged individual at work. My husband is a mechanical engineer who takes great pride in his work. Just yesterday, we were talking about an entire group at his workplace who just punt everything to someone else. J gets so frustrated with that attitude, and he’s becoming somewhat cynical. On the bright side, he did just receive a major promotion–in part because he is so dedicated, motivated, and engaged. But it can get exhausting to feel as though you’re cleaning up after everyone else year after year.

  3. DebtChronicles says:

    I live in Minnesota, and I have no comment as to whether I’m reading this at work.  :)

  4. I’m also from Minnesota (like DebtChronicles) and will agree with her statement. :)
    That being said, I would say that I’m half engaged.  I know what’s expected of me and I do that, but I’m not actively searching on how to make things better.