State of the Heart Report 2024

State of the Heart Report 2024 summary and key points by Avril Kidd of EQ in Action, Durban KZN, South Africa
Written by: Avril Kidd
The State of the Heart report is the world's largest study of emotional intelligence. Drawing on a large global dataset from over 129 countries, the Report uses a randomized sample balanced by demographics.

Emotional Intelligence can be the game changer to high performance and personal leadership.

[Steve Gutzler]

In this article I will be discussing a few findings from the latest ‘hot off the press’ State of the Heart Report for 2024.

Let’s dig in.

6 Key findings in the 2024 SOH Report


Here are the top focus points of the report:

1. Global EQ continues to decline for the 4th consecutive year. From 2019 – 2023 the average EQ declined by 5.54%.

2. The world is in an ’emotional recession’ characterized by low wellbeing and high burnout.

3. Gen Z faces a mental and emotional health crisis fueled by loneliness and social isolation.

4. A gender gap has emerged in the post-Covid years with women’s emotional intelligence and life success scores having rebounded while men’s have continued to decline.

5. Burnout has increased in 65% of workplace sectors.

6. Emotional Intelligence scores are not evenly distributed over the world.


But what do these findings mean?


As stated in the 2024 SOH, “Emotional Intelligence is the skillset every person needs in order to navigate the challenges ahead”, so it is of huge concern that we see that overall EQ has dropped significantly over the past 4 years.

Losing Energy and Vision

When we analyze the 8 EQ Competencies, we look at them in terms of 3 strands, namely … 

  Decision Making,
  and Drive.

Across all generations the Drive strand has shown the most significant decline as people feel more hopeless and less able to innovate or take risks (lower Optimism). They also feel stuck as they lack the inner drive to take action (lower Intrinsic Motivation) and they feel cut off from deeper meaning and less able to put their long-term vision into action (low Pursue Noble Goals).

As the Gen Zs (classified in this report as born 1995- 2009), have shown the greatest decrease in EQ than any other generation, I have decided to focus on them and the potential mental crisis they are facing which is highly concerning.

Gen Z’s significant drop in drive

Overall Drive has dropped significantly, but it was the most extreme in this generation. Gen Z is a generation of high achievers and are highly competitive, so it is concerning to see how low their life satisfaction scores are. They also have the lowest health and balance scores of all the generations indicating that they are at a higher risk of burnout and disengagement and therefore this high performance isn’t sustainable and poses a threat to productivity and retention. 

As Employers this is obviously highly concerning, so what can you do to help increase this drive again?

Employers need to create visible and tangible purpose. This doesn’t mean having fancy Vision posters on the wall but creating a culture where employees feel that the organization lives their values and can see and feel the connection between their day-to-day work and a longer-term purpose.

Purpose also directly impacts motivation as employees look for meaning in their work rather than being motivated extrinsically by the ‘carrot or the stick’ methodology. Increasing purpose and meaning will lead to greater intrinsic motivation which will in turn increase drive.

This focus on Purpose and Meaning will benefit all generations.

Decision-making: Gen Z are more cautious.

In the Decision-making strand, Gen Zs are more cautious and risk-averse than older generations due to their Consequential thinking scoring much higher than their Optimism and, because of this, older generations like the Millennials (born 1980-1994) and Gen X ( born 1965-1979), are perceiving Gen Zs as being inappropriately cautious and unwilling to experiment and try new things. While the Gen Zs on the other hand may see older generations as taking too many risks. A recipe for a communication divide and one to be more aware of!

Gen Z are more balanced between Self Awareness and Empathy

In terms of the emotional strand, Gen Zs are more balanced between Self Awareness and Empathy, indicating that they are more likely to take into account their own as well as others’ emotions  compared to the Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) who are more slanted to their own emotions.

The research also indicates that Gen Zs are feeling lonely and isolated post-Covid. This difference in the emotional strand can potentially result in Gen Z feeling that older generations are uncaring and ignoring the feeling of others, which can lead to miscommunication and distrust as Caring is essential to Trust (as seen in the Vital Signs Model).

With Navigating Emotions being the lowest EQ Score, people will find it difficult to manage their emotions. With the disparity in Gen Z’s much higher Empathy and Emotional Literacy scores relative to their ability to Navigate Emotions, they may often feel overwhelmed by their own and other emotions which can result in them being volatile and often ‘stuck’ in challenging emotions and not able to move on from them or let them go.

With Navigating Emotions being the lowest EQ Competency across all generations, the risk of volatility or emotional withdrawal is high as people are less able to proactively manage their feelings.

The need for managers who can mentor employees and create psychologically safe environments is more important now than ever, particularly for Gen Z.


Gen Zs are more inclined toward ‘direct’ action, which is being Effective through Decision Making, whilst the older generations are more inclined to more ‘indirect’ action, which is Effectiveness through Influence, in other words, Gen Z prefer to do it themselves vs working through others.

Learn More

The SOH report is such a wealth of information. I have only touched on one aspect of it in this article. If you would like to receive the full report, please feel free to contact me on to receive a copy. This can also be an exciting and informative way to introduce EQ to your organization or team.

You can also learn more about the SOH report here.