Call center employees. Health care professionals. Government workers. Senior executives. These groups may look very different, but they have a common need. At every level of income and education, people need the skills of resilience.

Ten-plus years of meQ data bear this out. As deployments of our digital resilience solution spread across organizational divides, we consistently find that more than 40 percent of all workers have low resilience. And while one might assume that this is more of an issue with lower-wage, blue collar workers than high earners with college degrees, the data tells a different story.


Income and education do not predict resilience.

In this study, Wendy Lynch, Ph.D., and Andrew Shatté, Ph.D., looked closely at the data to understand the relationship between income, education, and resilience.

Would high resilience coincide with a large paycheck or advanced degree? The answer was “no.” In fact:

47% of highly educated employees score below average for resilience
Nearly half of those making $150,000 or more scored below average for resilience
Of those making $75,000 or more annually with low resilience, 42% intend to quit their job within the next six months

Imagine your highest-paid, highest-educated employees in a room. Now imagine half are suffering from low resilience, and may be just about ready to walk out the door.

And even if these workers don’t quit, they won’t be bringing their best selves to work. Because low resilience scores correlate with:

  • Burnout
  • Sleep issues
  • Increased absences
  • Reduced productivity
  • 3x the risk of depression

“If an employer is interested in resilience, they can’t ignore their highly paid and highly educated workers,” notes Lynch.


High resilience protects workers from well-being risks.

While many high-wage, high-education employees are at risk for low resilience, those with high resilience show remarkably positive outcomes.

No matter which variable meQ researchers looked at in the study, having high resilience improved a person’s ability to fend off perceived stress, burnout, depression risk, and sleep issues. Resilience improved job satisfaction and productivity, and it reduced absences and intent to quit.

Furthermore, only 8% of highly educated respondents with high resilience were at risk for depression. By comparison, 33% of highly educated workers with low resilience were at risk for depression.



meQ’s results concur with more than 600 peer-reviewed studies from the last 30 years on the psychological effects of resilience. Across the board, researchers find that resilience has a measurable, positive influence on worker health, productivity, and performance.


Everyone benefits from resilience.

From highly-paid executives in the office to high-school graduates on the front line, resilience offers common ground and unifies successes—but only if you give employees the opportunity to develop these skills.

Download the white paper, “High Education and Income Do Not Guarantee a Resilient Employee,” to learn more, and reach out to a meQ specialist to build resilience in your organization.