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Unpredictability ranked biggest stressor at work

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Unpredictability ranked biggest stressor at work

New survey looks at sources of stress in the workplace.

A new survey from job search firm CareerCast found "unpredictability" to be the biggest source of work stress and "business travel" to be the least likely source of stress on the job.

"Life is filled with stressors – from worrying you're going to lose your job because the company lost a big account to having a sick child at home," says Kyle Kensing, Online Content Editor, CareerCast. "Much of the pressure we feel occurs in the eight or so hours we spend at work, and we asked our readers to sound off on their stress factors."

Most of the respondents (62%) rated their jobs as highly stressful, while just 11% felt the amount of stress on the job was low. The most common factors influencing job stress levels included: unpredictability (26%), workplace environment (21%), deadlines (20%) and safety of others (16%). Few people felt that length of work day/week (7%), personal well-being in danger (5%), potential for promotion (3%) and travel (1%) were major job stressors.

Most of the respondents (62%) rated their jobs as highly stressful.

A number of factors can contribute to job stress. For example, enlisted military, firefighters, and police officers -- three of the most stressful careers in the report -- encounter multiple stressors. Not only are their jobs unpredictable, but they also face personal danger, are responsible for the safety of others, and have a perilous working environment. Public relations executives and event coordinators, which were also among the top 10 most stressful professions of 2016, face a difficult workplace environment and considerable demands from their bosses and clients.

The information gleaned in the poll is noteworthy, especially when broken out by industry. Forty percent of those in academia, 33% of those in engineering, and 30% of those in customer service rated unpredictability as their top stressor, while only 15% of those in transportation found unpredictability to be a job stress factor. Not surprisingly, ensuring the safety of others was the biggest stressor for transportation and healthcare workers.  Professional/business services workers rated deadlines the most stressful part of their job. Those in information technology said workplace environment was their biggest stressor and deadlines were the highest rated stress factor in the entertainment field.

While some people thrive on unpredictability and deadlines, if you are looking low-stress professions you might consider becoming a hair stylist, medical records technician, jeweler and librarian, according to the report.


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