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Understanding government employee burnout

March 2023

Addressing government employees’ burnout can help keep workers committed and feel appreciated for their work. So, what’s driving burnout and how can agency leadership alleviate it? Read on for Eagle Hill Consulting’s insights and ideas to help reduce government employee burnout.

Eagle Hill Consulting’s latest Government Employee Burnout Survey reveals that over half of the government workforce (52%) is burnt out. Government employee burnout remains alarmingly high, despite trending downward since this time last year.

When asked about the causes of their burnout, government employees most often cite workload, staff shortages, and lack of communication and support. 

Government Employee Burnout Survey
Eagle Hill Consulting regularly surveys U.S. government employees (federal, state, and local) on the topic of employee burnout. Our ongoing research provides agency leadership with insights into the drivers, organizational impacts, and remedies for government employee burnout.

Government employee burnout outpaces the private sector

While government employee burnout is trending downward, the number remains alarmingly high.

Government employee burnout trend

Source: Eagle Hill Consulting Workforce Burnout Survey

Over half of U.S. government employees say they feel burnt out at work (52%), compared to 45% of private sector workers. 

Percentage of employees
reporting burnout

Source: Eagle Hill Consulting Workforce Burnout Survey

Women in government report burnout at a rate nearly 30% higher than their male counterparts. 

Percentage of government employees
reporting burnout by gender

Source: Eagle Hill Consulting Workforce Burnout Survey

When asked about the causes of their burnout, half of government employees say their workload is the biggest driver. Close behind is staffing shortages and lack of communication and support. 

Top 5 causes of government employee burnout




Staff shortages


Lack of communication
and support 


Work-life balance


Time pressures 

Percent of government employees who attribute their burnout to the above causes

Source: Eagle Hill Consulting Workforce Burnout Survey

Guidance for agencies on how to recover from burnout

Government employees share insights on steps their agencies can take to reduce burnout, from increasing flexibility to adjusting workload. 

Remedies for government employee burnout


Increase flexibility of working hours or days


A four-day workweek


Decreased workload


Better health and wellness benefits


Continue working from home or working from home more


Reduce administrative burden


More on-site amenities at your physical workplace


Ability to relocate to a new location or work from multiple locations

Percent of government employees who say the ideas above would reduce their burnout

Source: Eagle Hill Consulting Workforce Burnout Survey

Discussing causes and solutions is essential to extinguishing burnout – and government employees are open to having those conversations with their leadership. 

Are you comfortable talking to your manager or employer about your burnout?


of burnt-out government
employees say yes

Source: Eagle Hill Consulting Workforce Burnout Survey

This level of burnout across the government workforce is troubling. While it’s encouraging to see burnout levels coming down, agencies can do more to address government employees’ burnout. Many government workers are mission-driven and committed to public service. Addressing their specific drivers of burnout can help keep them on the job, as will ensuring that they feel appreciated and valued for their public service.
Melissa Jezior, Eagle Hill Consulting President and Chief Executive Officer


The findings are from the ongoing Eagle Hill Consulting Workforce Burnout Surveys conducted by Ipsos, most recently in February 2023. Each survey includes more than 1,000 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S. The survey includes an augment to collect more interviews from those who work for the government (local, state, or federal government).  This augment includes 305 interviews in addition to 170 respondents from the standard survey who work for the government.