More Work and Less Pay Make Stressed Workers

April 9, 2013 ( - Eight in 10 employed Americans said they are stressed out on the job amid heavier workloads and low pay.

The “2013 Work Stress Survey,” conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Everest College, found 83% of Americans are stressed by at least one thing at work, an increase from 73% in 2012. According to the telephone survey of 1,019 employed adults, for the third consecutive year, paltry paychecks were a top stressor with 14% of adults ranking low wages as the most stressful aspect of work.   

Low pay shared the top spot with unreasonable workload, jumping to 14% from 9% in 2012. Annoying coworkers and commuting tied at 11%, followed by working in a job that is not a chosen career (8%), poor work-life balance (7%), lack of opportunity for advancement (6%) and fear of being fired or laid off (4%). 

Women are more likely to say that low pay is the most stressful aspect of their job, nearly twice the rate of men (18% to 10%). Men listed unreasonable workload as the top stressor (14%), followed by annoying coworkers (12%).

Eighteen percent of the survey participants with a high school diploma or less ranked low pay as the top stressor, followed by annoying coworkers (14%). College graduates ranked unreasonable workload as No. 1 (17%), followed by their commute (12%). 

Those whose household income is less than $35,000 are more likely than those in the top income groups to say that their top stressors are low pay (26%), that their job is not in their chosen field (11%), and there are no opportunities for advancement (10%). The highest earners, however (those with a household income of $100,000 or more), are more likely than the lowest earners to cite unreasonable workload (16%) and their commute to and from work (16%) as their top workplace stressors.   

Higher wage earners are also twice as likely as those in the lowest income bracket to say that nothing about their job stresses them out (18% vs. 9%). American workers 65 and older are more likely than any other age group to say there is nothing about their job that stresses them out (38%).