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Survey of US workers finds majority feel stressed over job issues
Everest College's annual Work Stress Survey finds low pay tops list for second consecutive year; fear of losing job drops considerably

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 16, 2012 - As summer vacations wind down, it’s back to the workplace where nearly three quarters of employed Americans are stressed out on the job for one reason or another, according to data from the 2012 Work Stress Survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College.

The telephone survey of 898 employed adults found that a majority of respondents (73 percent) are stressed by at least one thing at work. For the second consecutive year, paltry paychecks was the top stressor with 11 percent of adults ranking low wages as the most stressful aspect of work, followed by annoying coworkers (10 percent), commuting (9 percent), unreasonable workload (9 percent) and working in a job that is not their chosen career (8 percent).

Americans, however, seem to be more confident regarding job security with just 4 percent ranking fear of being fired or laid off a top concern, compared with 9 percent in 2011. Other key stressors include poor work-life balance (5 percent), lack of opportunity for advancement (5 percent) and the boss (4 percent).

“With ongoing uncertainty gripping the job market and economy, it’s only natural that job stress continues to be a major issue,” said survey spokesman John Swartz, regional director of career services at Everest College. “Anxiety among employees reduces productivity, lessens job satisfaction, lowers morale and has a negative impact on health. Workplace stress costs U.S. employers billions, and it’s critical that both employer and employee take action to reduce this epidemic.”

Women, More Than Men, Stressed by Low Pay

The survey found that women and men have some key differences when ranking the most stressful aspect of their job. Women ranked low pay at 14 percent while 8 percent of men said it was the top stressor. Another key differentiator was that 11 percent of women said their job wasn’t their chosen career, compared with 5 percent of men.

Similar to other Americans, 14 percent of the survey participants with a high school diploma or less ranked low pay as the top stressor, followed by annoying coworkers (12 percent). College graduates ranked unreasonable workload No. 1 (13 percent), followed by low pay (11 percent).

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 February 2012 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 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: 2012 Work Stress Survey Fast Facts

  • While 73 percent of survey respondents said at least one thing is stressful about their jobs, 26 percent said nothing stresses them out about their jobs. In 2011, 21 percent said nothing about their job stresses them out.
  • Of the Americans who said nothing stresses them out on the job, the highest concentration was those with a household income of more than $100,000 (37 percent)
  • Regionally, the Northeast is more likely than the South to indicate an unreasonable workload is the most stressful aspect of the job (14 percent vs. 7 percent), while the West is more likely than the Midwest to say their job not being their chosen career is most stressful (11 percent vs. 4 percent).

About the Survey

Everest College’s 2012 Work Stress Survey was conducted by telephone within the United States by Harris Interactive between June 21 and July 1, 2012, among 898 employed U.S. adults ages 18+. Results were weighted for age, sex, geographic region, and race where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population.

About Everest College

Everest College is part of Corinthian Colleges, Inc., a post-secondary education company in North America. Its mission is to prepare students for careers in demand or for advancement in their chosen field. It offers diploma programs and associate and bachelor’s degrees in a variety of occupational areas, including healthcare, criminal justice, business, information technology and construction trades. Programs vary by campus. For more information, please visit www.everest.edu. For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program and other important information, please visit our website at www.everest.edu/disclosures.

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