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Older workers most engaged, youngest not so much

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Your oldest workers are probably the most engaged in their work, according to a new Gallup poll. So-called traditionalists—born before 1946—are most likely to be “involved in, enthusiastic about and committed to their work and workplace,” Gallup’s definition of engagement.

Still, fewer than half of traditionalists say they are engaged in their work. From there, the results get even more discouraging. Degree of engagement drops steadily with each worker age cohort. Baby boomers (born from 1946 to 1964), generation X (1965 – 1980) and millennials (1981 – 2000) are each less engaged than their predecessors.

How engaged are you in your work?

Millennials  28.9%

Generation X  32.2%

Baby boomers  32.7%

Traditionalists  42.2%

Source: Gallup poll, January 2015

The good news: Degree of engagement increased for all ages by an average of 2.4 percentage points between 2013 and 2014.

Gallup researchers speculate that traditionalist employees (who are at least 69 years old) are most engaged because they may be working by choice, not necessity. Millennials may score lowest because they aren’t getting “the jobs they had hoped for coming out of college.” Millennials, Gallup found, are less likely than other generations to say they “have the opportunity to do what they do best.”

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