College-educated workers in America are less likely to be engaged at work than their less-educated peers. And that’s a sign of a serious problem in the country’s higher education system, as well as a troublesome point for the future of the economy, according to a new Gallup poll.
The majority of American workers with a college degree said they do not have “the opportunity to do what [they] do best every day” at work, a survey of more than 150,000 adults found. Overall, the majority of American workers said they are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work. Only 30 percent said they feel engaged.
“We have either too few jobs for college grads in general, or too many degrees misaligned with the jobs available in the workplace,” said Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education, in a blog post.
Researchers based the engagement findings on workers' assessments of different workplace elements related to performance outcomes, such as productivity, customer service, quality, retention, safety and profit.
For those with a high school diploma or less, about 33 percent said they felt engaged. But as workers climbed up the educational ladder, they became increasingly more likely to report feeling the opposite.
Just more than 50 percent of workers who completed technical school or had some college education said they do not feel engaged at work, meaning they are satisfied with their workplace but are not emotionally connected to it. Another 20 percent said they were “actively disengaged,” meaning they are “emotionally disconnected” from their work and workplace and jeopardize their team’s performance, the survey says.