Stress is a big part of our daily lives and most of it comes from the type of work that we do. Certain professions naturally come with higher stress levels while others take us completely by surprise.
Naturally, most people think that they have the most stressful job in the world and no other is more difficult than theirs. But just how stressful is their job really?
According to CareerCast’s annual Jobs Rated report, these are the 20 most stressful jobs in the world.
20. Sports Referee
How difficult can standing on the side of the pitch, deciding penalties and judging the winners really be? With constant verbal abuse and death threats, a job as a referee can cause a lot of uneasiness. Along with numerous sleepless nights and lots of travelling to sporting venues, workers in this profession can get very stressed out.
Average Salary: $47,666 (£33,780)
Although teaching is a fulfilling job with great holidays, it’s also a hectic position, and one without a hefty paycheque to show for it. People in this career tend to work out of hours to ensure their pupils’ work is marked and lesson plans are completed. They also deal with a variety of different personalities, including disruptive students.
Average Salary: $45,015 (£31,901)
18. Telephone Operator
Sitting at a desk and talking to people all day sounds like the easiest job in the world. However, when you’re dealing with angry customers and have a ridiculous amount of targets to hit in order to get a paycheque at the end of the month, you’ll soon be feeling the strain. While some people thrive in a competitive office, it can make others crumble under the pressure.
Average Salary: $32,000 (£22,678)
17. Mental Health Counsellor
For obvious reasons, working as a mental health counsellor can be quite stressful. You’ll need to have a calming nature to do well in this career, as well as be able to handle heavy workloads to help your patients get better through addressing emotional and mental disorders. Patients can often be verbally or physically abusive.
Average Salary: $39,943 (£28,311)
16. Social Worker
Social workers never know what they are going to face when they start their working day. Depending on their line of work, they could care for patients who are elderly, children, sick or with mental health problems. Late nights and long shifts can also take a toll on their health and personal life, but the satisfaction of making a positive impact on someone’s life can make all the stress worthwhile.
Average Salary: $44,019 (£31,200)
15. IT Manager
Many seem to think that IT staff have it easy but being responsible for the whole company’s IT processes can cause quite a bit of strain, especially if there are any faults and the entire system goes down. In this role, you’ll need to quickly develop your leadership skills and be able to think on your feet and come up with quick, effective solutions – and this can be stressful, to say the least.
Average Salary: $84,329 (£59,771)
Being a paramedic is an extremely stressful and emotionally challenging job – you just never know what you’ll be faced with when you respond to an emergency. According to a piece in the Guardian, written by a current paramedic working for the NHS, ‘4 of the 30 paramedics at my ambulance station have been off with stress over the last few years. They just couldn’t face coming in for another run of 14- or 15-hour shifts’.
Average Salary: $45,021 (£31,910)
Many think that being a bartender and getting paid to drink and hang out in bars isn’t even a real job. However, the truth is that it can be stressful, what with the added pressure from drunk customers to be served first, as well as spending hours on end on your feet and travelling home late at night.
Average Salary: $29,508 (£20,915)
Lawyers are usually tough characters that can take on the added pressure and handle difficult situations and personalities. The long hours and burden to win a court case can be extremely demanding and will leave many people in this role feeling burned out at some point in their career.
Average Salary: $81,562 (£57,811)
Surgeons operate on patients, treat injuries and deal with a number of hiccups and unexpected circumstances during an operation. They have the added stress not to make a wrong decision that can end in a fatal error.
Average Salary: $255,207 (£180,874)
10. Taxi Driver
What can make driving around all day so bad? Drunk and rude passengers, lunatic drivers, rush hour traffic and bad weather are just a few reasons worth mentioning! Being stuck in a car and dealing with a number of these issues can make any working day very stressful for a taxi or Uber driver.
Average Salary: $29,574 (£20,960)
9. Senior Corporate Officer
If you’ve made it to the highest step of the ladder in your company, it wouldn’t have come without additional responsibilities (and pressure). Being the go-to person for important decisions and spending hours outside those specified in your contract to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible is bound to take a toll on you at someone point or another.
Average Salary: $181,210 (£128,429)
8. Public Relations Executive
PR executives are responsible for the reputation of their clients or the company they work for. They’ll need to work at all hours to ensure their client receives the best coverage and to book deals and appearances to heighten their visibility. As you can imagine, dealing with celebrities and public figures can take a lot of nail-biting to ensure no relationships are tarnished.
Average Salary: $107,320 (£76,061)
As a broadcaster, you’ll be responsible for reporting and announcing breaking news on television. This isn’t a position for the camera-shy, as you’ll need to be a good public speaker and be able to handle tricky situations (from technical errors to an interviewee acting out).
Average Salary: $56,680 (£40,167)
As a news reporter, you don’t know what kind of dangerous locations you’ll be whisked off to, and with little notice. Your days can vary from being in the studio to a battlefield. Once you have the news piece, you’ll need to rush off to get it published before your competition does – all for a low salary.
Average Salary: $37,820 (£26,801)
5. Event Coordinator
Can you imagine arranging a bridezilla’s big day? Everything has to be just perfect, otherwise she’ll blow the roof and tarnish your reputation, leaving you with nothing but a headache at the end of it. Coordinating big events can be stressful when things start to go wrong, like typos on the seating arrangements or the wrong flavoured cake. You’ll need to have good connections and be a good problem-solver to survive in this cutthroat industry.
Average Salary: $47,350 (£33,555)
4. Police Officer
Police officers put their lives on the line every day, dealing with life-threatening situations such as armed robberies and making arrests of dangerous criminals. This, of course, causes a large amount of stress and other health problems. The good news is that their salary is quite high.
Average Salary: $61,600 (£43,653)
3. Airline Pilot
Being the sole person responsible for the safety of hundreds of passengers can be extremely stressful, as can last-minute changes in schedules and long hours of being in the air. The high salary makes the stress level of airline pilots worthwhile.
Average Salary: $105,270 (£74,602)
Firefighters risk their lives and limbs on a daily basis for the safety of others. They don’t know how dangerous the fire will be and how many people they’ll need to save on that day. Last-minute shift changes can also add a strain on their personal lives, as they won’t be able to make any plans in advance.
Average Salary: $48,030 (£34,037)
1. Military Personnel
The most stressful job is that of military personnel. As you can imagine, being away from home for often months at a time in warzones can be extremely traumatic. The fear of injuries and casualties can cause great anxiety, with ‘many troops left with psychological problems and post-traumatic disorder,’ according to CBS News. In fact, ‘30% of them developing mental problems within 3 to 4 months of being home.’
Average Salary: $26,054 (£18,463)
It’s safe to say that all these jobs on the list have added stress factors, but their benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Kyle Kensing, online editor for CareerCast, says that ‘no matter your profession, speaking with a healthcare professional can be a critical stress-reliever’.
Do you work in one of these roles? If so, let us know what the stress-factor is for you in the comments section below…
Salary information is based on data compiled and published by PayScale and CareerCast. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by XE.com on 16 February 2018.