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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

Job Engagement Low for Mismatched Workers

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July 19, 2013

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Job Engagement Low for Mismatched Workers

A new Gallup poll finds that U.S. employees with a college degree are less likely to be engaged at work than their peers with lower or higher levels of education. The engagement rating was primarily based on level of agreement with the statement "at work I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day," and varied greatly based on job role.

While only about 30 percent of overall poll respondents were described as engaged at work, a slightly higher percentage of workers with a high school diploma or less were classified as engaged, followed by those with a postgraduate degree and those with some college/technical school. Employees with a college degree were the least likely to be engaged. This data is based on surveys of more than 150,000 American adults, conducted in 2012.

Regardless of education level, people employed in a managerial position were most likely to be engaged at work. Health care professionals were also highly engaged. On the other hand, a not-insignificant percentage of workers at all levels were classified as not only not engaged or "checked out," but as actively disengaged and disruptive to productivity.

Engagement dropped significantly for college-educated employees working non-managerial or non-executive jobs. Gallup analysts note that many recent four-year college graduates are working in jobs that do not require that level of education, according to research from the Associated Press and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, among others, and this mismatch may contribute to low levels of engagement.

Employees with jobs that match their training and interests may be more likely to be engaged. Luckily, CTE prepares students for just this kind of fulfilling future.

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