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Workplace Stress on the Rise with 83% of Americans Frazzled By Something at Work

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DSN Newswire

Everest College’s Third Annual Survey Finds More Work and Less Pay Rank as Top Contributors to Job Stress; Overall Worker Angst Jumps Significantly from 2012

The U.S. unemployment rate may be falling, but stress levels continue to rise among workers as more than eight in 10 employed Americans said they are stressed out on the job amid heavier workloads and low pay, according to data released today in the 2013 Work Stress Survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College.

The telephone survey of 1,019 employed adults found that 83% of Americans are stressed by at least one thing at work, a sharp increase of 10 percentage points when compared with 2012 (73%). The survey was conducted to coincide with April’s Stress Awareness Month, when health care professionals across the country join forces to increase public awareness about the causes and cures for the modern stress epidemic.

For the third consecutive year, paltry paychecks were a top stressor with 14% of adults ranking low wages as the most stressful aspect of work. Low pay shared the top spot with unreasonable workload, jumping to 14% from 9% in 2012.

Annoying coworkers and commuting tied at 11%, followed by working in a job that is not a chosen career (8%), poor work-life balance (7%), lack of opportunity for advancement (6%) and fear of being fired or laid off (4%).

“More companies are hiring, but workers are still weary and stressed out from years of a troubled economy that has brought about longer hours, layoffs and budget cuts,” said survey spokesman John Swartz, regional director of career services at Everest College. “Americans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic, but anxiety among employees is rooted into our working lives, and it is important to understand new and better ways of coping with the pressure. One such way is going back to school to receive the necessary education to find a new career that will make you happier and, hopefully, less stressed.”

Gender Wage Gap Plays Role in Stress Levels
The wage gap between men and women and how it relates to stress is evident in the survey results. Women are more likely to say that low pay is the most stressful aspect of their job, nearly twice the rate of men (18% to 10%). Men, meanwhile, listed unreasonable workload as the top stressor (14%), followed by annoying coworkers (12%).

Eighteen percent of the survey participants with a high school diploma or less ranked low pay as the top stressor, followed by annoying coworkers (14%). College graduates ranked unreasonable workload No. 1 (17%), followed by their commute (12%).

Not surprisingly, income plays a significant role in determining the top workplace stressors. Those whose household income is less than $35,000 are more likely than those in the top income groups to say that their top stressors are low pay (26%), that their job is not in their chosen field (11%), and there are no opportunities for advancement (10%). The highest earners, however (those with a household income of $100,000 or more), are more likely than the lowest earners to cite unreasonable workload (16%) and their commute to and from work (16%) as their top workplace stressors. Higher wage earners are also twice as likely as those in the lowest income bracket to say that nothing about their job stresses them out (18% vs. 9%).

“In many ways, the workplace is much different than it was a decade ago and a growing number of Americans are not just sitting back. They’re stepping up and taking charge of their careers,” Swartz said. “There are many reasons for feeling stressed at work, but those who feel like they’ve been able to have control over their careers and work in a field they’re truly passionate about, end up being more satisfied and productive.

“Having job security is very important, which is why so many Americans are turning to growth industries like health care.

At Everest College, we’re delivering practical, career-oriented curriculum in high-demand fields and addressing career and technical education that is not adequately addressed by traditional institutions and federal job-training programs.”

Top Careers for Stability
Industries and occupations related to health care, personal care and social assistance, and construction are projected to have the fastest job growth between 2010 and 2020, according to a 2012 report from the U.S.

Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 20 industries with the largest projected wage and salary employment growth between 2010 and 2020 include:

  • Offices of health practitioners
  • Hospitals
  • Home health-care services
  • Nursing and residential care facilities
  • Computer system design and related services

By the Numbers: 2013 Work Stress Survey Fast Facts

  • While 83% of Americans said at least one thing is stressful about their jobs, 17% said nothing stresses them out about their jobs.
  • American workers 65 and older are more likely than any other age group to say there is nothing about their job that stresses them out (38%).
  • Regionally, workers who live in the Northeast are more likely than those who live in the Midwest to say they are most stressed by their job not being a chosen career. (11% and 4%, respectively.)

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