Unhappy Workers Could Cost the Global Economy Trillions

By: Anneken Tappe · June 14, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Engagement Drain

Low employee engagement may be dragging down global GDP by as much as 9% per year, or nearly $9 trillion, according to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace report.

Why are employees so checked out, and what can be done to change it?

Worker Woes

Remember “quiet quitting” and “bare minimum Mondays”? Both terms gained traction on social media in the post-pandemic economy, as workers felt increasingly less engaged and dissatisfied with their jobs.

Of nearly 130,000 workers surveyed by Gallup across the globe, nearly two-thirds (62%) characterized themselves as “not engaged” in 2023, up 3 percentage points from the previous year’s report. Another 15% were actively disengaged, leaving less than a quarter of the global workforce fully engaged in their work.

At least 1 in 5 workers reported feeling lonely (20%), angry (21%), or sad (22%) every day. More than 40% reported feeling stressed.

The trend is less pronounced in North America, with workers in the U.S. and Canada reporting the highest level of engagement at 33%, per Gallup.

Workplace Wellness

High unemployment is well-known to be a major economic headwind. But Gallup concludes that given the economic cost and mental toll, disengagement may ultimately weigh more heavily on productivity – and ultimately cost even more.

So what are companies to do? One potential solution may be investing more in management. The report found workers are more likely to be engaged when their managers are, too.

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