Study: Low paying, high-stress jobs are worse than being unemployed
- A University of Manchester study found that people in low-paying, highly stressful jobs are more stressed out than unemployed people, reports Fortune. The research included 1,000 people ages 35 to 75 who were jobless between 2009 and 2010.
- According to Fortune, researchers checked in with the test group in the years that followed to see how their self-reported health and stress levels were, based on hormones and other stress-level indicators.
- The results showed that people who took low-quality jobs had higher chronic stress levels than they had while unemployed, and those who took good jobs were healthier.
A Hewitt study released in April showed that 54% of workers reported feeling highly stressed, an increase over last year's study results. The high level of stress among workers is catastrophic. Unemployment is stressful enough, but when being in a low-quality, low-paid job is worse, employers should sit up and take notice.
Stress has forced workers into other careers, a Harris poll showed earlier this year. One-in-four workers who reports experiencing discrimination at work feels tremendous stress, according to a study by VitalSmarts, a leadership training firm.
Employees are wise to take more of their allotted vacation days, disconnect from the office after work hours, enter a training program or even work out at the gym when stress levels get too high on the job. But employers must take some of the responsibility for helping employees manage stress to stay healthy and avoid burnout.
Reviewing workloads and assignments with managers is one way HR can keep on top of employees' stress levels. Promoting employee participation in wellness programs and expanding benefits to include an emotional well-being and a financial management component can help reduce stress. Financial worries are a prime source of stress for U.S. workers.
HR also should follow up on any employee complaints, to avoid cultivating a toxic work environment and to ensure that the workplace is in compliance with all applicable laws.