Surveys are obviously rubbish. But the Telegraph and Channel 5 have have conducted one to find out what their (probably unrepresentative and miniscule sample size) think are the most stressful jobs you can have. I doubt many health-workers had time to answer the questions, but here are some of their results that you may, or not, find revealing.
People earning £100,000 or more, they have discovered, are, in fact, the happiest group in the country, suggesting the old adage that money can’t buy you happiness wasn’t quite right – but the research found some other findings.
The UK Happiness Survey, 5,800 people across the UK (OK; it’s a fair enough number, if true, how many responded?) about their happiness and stress levels and how these are connected to their financial situation. Channel 5’s new programme, Rich House, Poor House, explores these issues in more depth as it asks two families at opposite ends of the wealth scale to swap budgets each week and share what they learned about money and happiness with each other.
The so called “C-suite” – those at the top of the corporate tree who are more likely to live in a “Rich House” and have job titles beginning with “C” such as CEO, CFO and CIO – are the least stressed group in the UK, according to the survey.
However, those senior managers toiling just below board level were the most stressed, suggesting that people living in the squeezed middle of the employment world are still finding working life difficult.
The figures suggest there is an income “sweet spot” where earners find life less stressful, despite not having a huge bank balance.
The poorest respondents – those earning under £19,000 – reported some of the highest stress levels. Meanwhile, those earning between £60,000 and £100,000 a year were not far behind. However, there was a huge drop in stress levels for the income group earning between £20,000 and £40,000, which may suggest that this level of pay – which corresponds with the UK average – may be enough to keep stress at bay.
Stress levels rose dramatically when earnings reached £40,000, and remained high for all other income groups.
Despite reporting higher stress levels, those on higher wages also felt happier. Those earning more than £100,000 were the happiest group, followed by those earning £60,000 to £100,000, then those earning between £40,000 and £60,000. But will Rich House, Poor House also find the wealthiest people are the happiest, or could there be more surprising results once the families have swapped homes for a week?
Work stress also varies by sector. People in logistics or transport said they have the best work/life balance, at 50%, but those working in media came out bottom, at just 25%.
According to Cabinet Office figures, the happiest employees in the country are clergymen, while publicans are the most unhappy. Chief executives rank as the second happiest, with low-paid roles such as care-home worker or debt collector near the bottom of the happiness scale.
Despite the obvious conclusion that those who want to earn lots of money would choose a traditionally high-paid job, those in banking and finance are relatively unlikely to be doing it for the cash. Just 15% of bankers said that earning lots of money was a top priority, compared with 23% of those in customer service roles and 20% of those in the public sector.
The most senior executives are the least stressed in terms of work/life balance, but there is still a correlation between the money we earn and our stress levels at work. Those earning more than £100,000 a year reported being the most stressed by their work.
Part-time workers are also more stressed than full-time workers, with those in full-time employment the least likely to find life stressful, followed by the retired. The stress of part-time working may reflect the difficulties of juggling family life and a part-time job, since those who have chosen part-time roles are more likely to be those with a young family.
Those below C-Suite level are more likely to have time for hobbies, with C-Suite executives and directors the least likely to prioritise interests and pastimes.
It does not matter how far you climb the corporate ladder, money is still likely to be a concern, suggesting that we adjust our spending according to our incomes (really?).
Almost a third of directors and C-Suite executives said that they found money to be their biggest cause of stress, ranking it more highly than either family or work – whether you live in a rich or a poor house, you will still worry about your income.
All-in-all; quite a pointless exercise really.