Healthcare is most stressful sector, but educational employees most likely to report stress, say researchers

New research by The Office Group (TOG) reveals that health and social care is the most stressful industry to work in, with workers often working longer hours and more cases of work-related stress, depression and anxiety.

However workers in the education industry are most likely to report work-related stress.

TOG calculated an overall stress score for 12 industries across the UK, using public data on the number of self-reported stress cases; average full-time hours; number of days lost to self-reported stress; and the likelihood of future automation.

The education industry has the highest rates of stress reported by employees, with 82,000 reports of stress, depression or anxiety that have been exacerbated by work, affecting 2,370 employees per 100,000 (2.37%) compared to the average rate of 1,390 employees per 100,000 (1.39%).

How does your industry compare? These below are the industries with the highest stress score.

Rank Industry Stress Score %
1 Human health and social work activities 83.6%
2 Financial and insurance activities 80.8%
3 Public administration and defence; compulsory social security 78.0%
4 Education 73.8%
5 Administrative and support service activities 57.1%
6 Transportation and storage 55.7%
7 Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 52.9%
8 Professional, scientific and technical activities 47.3%
9 Accommodation and food service activities 34.8%
10 Manufacturing 29.2%
11 Construction 26.4%
12 Information and communication 25.0%

Sources: The Office Group; Office for National Statistics; Health and Safety Executive.

Around 2,320 of health and social workers per 100,000 employees (2.32%) report cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety, with 0.92 days lost per worker, which is higher than the average of 0.46 days per year.

Across all industries, there are an estimated 11,947 days taken as sick leave due to stress, depression or anxiety that has been caused or made worse by the employees’ job.

Alessa McNally, Head of Member Experience at The Office Group, said:

“All employers can put stress management practices in place to keep their employees as healthy as possible.

“We believe flexibility is fundamental to workplace wellbeing. That’s why our office members can work from all 35 of our locations. We provide a variety of spaces to work and recharge from, including meditation rooms, libraries, fitness gyms and roof terraces. We also provide a range of wellness services, such as nutrition workshops, yoga and meditation mornings.”

Health and social workers in full-time employment are paid for an average of 43 hours per week, which is 18.5% more than information and communication employees, who are the least likely to report work-related stress according to TOG’s research. Incidentally, information and communication workers are paid more money than any employees in any other industries, earning an average of £860 before tax, whereas health and social workers receive an average of £533 per week.

TOG also found that women report significantly higher cases of workplace stress than men (300,000 compared to 236,000), which raises the question of gender differences when it comes to verbalising or even admitting mental health issues.

As part of their research, TOG spoke to Mobfit, a London-based workplace wellbeing consultancy, who advocate using mindfulness techniques to combat stress in the workplace.

Mark Briant, Director of Mobfit, said:

“We’ve seen first-hand how mindfulness can help calm the mind. It allows you to be more present and better able to communicate thoughtfully, making it a useful tool when presenting, participating in meetings and even having everyday conversations with colleagues.”

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