Gallup’s ‘State of the Global Workplace: 2024 Report’ found that global employee engagement has stagnated and employee wellbeing has declined in 2023 after multiple years of steady gains. The company said the result is that the world’s employees continue to struggle at work and in life, which has direct consequences for organisational productivity.

Employee engagement

Gallup noted a notable lack of improvement in employee engagement and wellbeing, following multiple years of steady gains.

The U.S. and Canada have the highest regional percentage of engaged employees at 33 per cent, compared to the global average of 23 per cent. Women in the region experienced higher engagement (35 per cent) than men (31 per cent).

Europe was ranked last with 13 per cent engagement.

Gallup estimates that low engagement costs the global economy $8.9tn, or nine per cent of global GDP — enough to make the difference between success and failure for the world’s development goals.

Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief workplace scientist, said, "Employee engagement has become increasingly important as the globe has entered uncertain economic times. Our research has shown that engagement has a stronger effect on organisational performance during a tough economy.”

The role of work in employee mental health and wellbeing

Employee engagement is a significant factor in overall life experiences. Not all mental health issues are related to work, but work is a factor in life evaluations and daily emotions. Addressing employee mental health, in part, requires support for thriving in life and engagement at work.

The global average was 34 per cent, with the highest regional percentage of thriving employees in Australia and New Zealand (60 per cent). Europe was ranked fourth with 43 per cent.


Gallup found that 20 per cent of employees experienced a lot of loneliness the previous day. Social isolation and chronic loneliness have a devastating effect on physical and mental health but work itself decreases loneliness. In general, working adults are less lonely than the global average.

The percentage of younger employees thriving in their overall lives has dropped in the past year. Globally, thriving declined in 2023 from 35 per cent to 34 per cent. Gallup’s wellbeing item measures overall life evaluation by combining present and future self-reflection. This decline in 2023 was felt particularly by younger workers under 35.

The role of the manager

The world’s managers are more likely than non-managers to be engaged at work and thriving in life, said the analytics firm. Nevertheless, managers are more likely to be stressed, angry, sad and lonely than non-managers.

The Middle East and North Africa had the highest regional percentage of employees experiencing stress during a lot of the previous day, at 52 per cent, compared to the global average of 41 per cent. With a 37 per cent stress rate, European employees were ranked seventh.

When managers are engaged, the rest of the team is more likely to be engaged

Managers drive engagement through goal setting, regular, meaningful feedback and accountability. While only 30 per cent of managers and 23 per cent of employees are engaged globally, some organisations reach much higher levels of employee engagement and wellbeing.

The global workplace has changed since 2020. The rise in hybrid work for remote-capable employees has made people management more complicated. When organisations increase the number of employees who are engaged at work, it improves a host of organisational outcomes.

Jim added, “A core habit for effective management is providing weekly meaningful feedback for each person on your team. Physical distance often translates into psychological distance, so this becomes a critical skill for hybrid and remote work. Our data suggest that most managers don’t have a handle yet on effective hybrid and remote work management. It can be done, but it requires greater levels of intentionality and communication.”