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New Eagle Hill Consulting research finds U.S. government employee burnout levels trending downward but remain high

64 percent of government employees say Generative Artificial Intelligence will not impact job stress

Arlington, Va., August 24, 2023 – Nearly half (47 percent) of government employees say that they are burned out from their jobs, lower than earlier this year (52 percent) and slightly higher than their private sector counterparts (44 percent) according to new research from Eagle Hill Consulting. The burnout levels are higher among Gen X government workers (53 percent), women (50 percent), and lower income employees (49 percent).

Government employees say the top causes of burnout include their workload and staffing shortages, both at 53 percent. Nearly three-fourths of government workers (70 percent) say that increased flexibility of working hours or days would help reduce their burnout.

When asked about Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), most government workers (64 percent) indicate they do not expect the emerging technology will impact their stress levels at the job. Yet, a growing body of research indicates that when properly implemented, AI can help improve worker efficiency and productivity. Millennials (31 percent) and male employees (21 percent) are most likely to say that AI can help reduce job stress. 

These findings are from the 2023 Eagle Hill Consulting Workforce Burnout Survey conducted by Ipsos from August 3-8, 2023. The survey included 1,347 respondents from a random sample of employees across the U.S. including 555 federal, state, and local government workers.

Read the “Understanding Government Employee Burnout” infographic.

“It’s encouraging that burnout levels for government employees are trending downward, but worker burnout is still much too high,” said Melissa Jezior, president and chief executive officer of Eagle Hill Consulting. “In recent weeks, we’ve witnessed the immense pressure and stress on government employees battling multiple natural disasters across the nation. Meanwhile, jurisdictions from coast-to-coast are plagued with teacher shortages and government leaders continue to face chronic problems hiring and keeping employees.”

Jezior said, “It’s imperative that government leaders address worker burnout head-on. That means having open conversations with employees to understand the causes of their burnout and collaborating to implement realistic solutions. Workers who are stressed and tired can’t perform at optimal levels, and it could push them to look for another job.”

“One area to closely monitor will be the impact of more government employees shifting back to in-person work. Our research indicates that government employees value in-person work, but they also want flexibility to alleviate burnout and stress. In fact, we found that government employees are worried about their work-life balance and commuting times that often come with in-person work. Finding the right balance of in-person and remote work will be increasingly important for government managers and leaders,” Jezior said.

The survey’s key findings are as follows:

  • When asked how staff shortages are impacting their workload, 87 percent of government workers experiencing burnout said it’s covering the workload for unfilled positions, 45 percent said it’s training new hires, 42 percent said it’s helping others learn their job.
  • Most employees (65 percent) who experience burnout feel comfortable telling their manager or employer they feel burned out.
  • When asked how to reduce burnout, 70 percent said increased flexibility would help, followed by decreasing their workloads (69 percent). Other solutions include offering a four-day work week (67 percent), reducing administrative burdens (61 percent), working from home (60 percent), providing better health and wellness benefits (55 percent), offering more on-site amenities (50 percent), and providing workers with the ability to relocate or work from multiple locations (42 percent).
  • The research also signals that government worker departures are likely to continue with more than one quarter of government workforce (29 percent) saying they plan to leave their job in the next 12 months. The planned departure rates are highest for lower income (41 percent), younger (34 percent), and female (33 percent) government employees.

Eagle Hill Consulting LLC is a woman-owned business that provides unconventional management consulting services in the areas of Strategy, Performance, Talent, and Change. The company’s expertise in delivering innovative solutions to unique challenges spans across the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. A leading authority on employee sentiment, Eagle Hill is headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, with employees across the U.S. and offices in Boston and Seattle. More information is available at www.eaglehillconsulting.com.

Media Contact:  Susan Nealon | 703.229.8600 | snealon@eaglehillconsulting.com | @WeAreEagleHill