Gallup's 142-country study on the State of the Global Workplace found only 1-in-8 workers -- roughly 180 million employees in the countries studied -- were psychologically committed to their jobs and likely to be making positive contributions.
This 13 percent of engaged employees in 2011-12 was up from 11 percent in Gallup's previous global workplace assessment, conducted in 2009-10.
Sixty-three percent were "not engaged," meaning they lacked motivation and were less likely to invest discretionary effort in organizational goals or outcomes, the survey found.
In addition, 24 percent were "actively disengaged," indicating they were unhappy and unproductive at work and liable to spread this negativity to their co-workers. Those actively disengaged dropped from 27 percent to 24 percent.
In rough numbers, this translates into 900 million not engaged and 340 million actively disengaged workers around the globe, Gallup said.
As in previous studies, engagement levels among employees vary across different global regions and among countries. The United States and Canada have the highest proportion of engaged workers, at 29 percent followed by Australia and New Zealand, at 24 percent each.
The highest proportions of actively disengaged workers were found in the Middle East, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa regions in the mid-30s.
In 19 Western European countries, 14 percent of employees were engaged, but 20 percent were actively disengaged.
The vast majority of employees worldwide reported an overall negative experience at work -- just 1-in-8 were fully involved in and enthusiastic about their jobs.
Increasing workplace engagement is vital to achieving sustainable growth for companies, communities and countries -- and for putting the global economy back on track to a more prosperous and peaceful future, Gallup said.
Data were collected among 73,752 respondents age 18 and older in 141 countries via the Gallup World Poll, and 151,335 U.S. respondents using the Gallup Daily tracking survey. The margin of error was 1 percentage point.
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