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HR tops rankings of most stressful professions

HR tops rankings of most stressful professions


A comprehensive study has identified that human resources practitioners as the most stressed professionals – outstripping other industries including legal, retail, catering & leisure, IT and healthcare.

The just-published UK study – conducted by Perkbox – quizzed around 16,000 respondents from more than 50 British cities about their respective professions.

It revealed that while 63% of legal workers and 54% of retail, catering and leisure workers experienced stress and anxiety, 79% of HR professionals were negatively impacted by their job.

It’s a worrying finding – especially poignant given that today (10 October) is World Mental Health Day.

So why was HR found to be so stressful? According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), given that are HR pros are constantly required to multi-task, frequently discussing negative issues with employees and dealing with the pressure of finding solutions to thorny problems under their remit, it’s unsurprising that HR runs the risk of experiencing a high level of workplace stress.

Also read: Top 10 most stressful jobs revealed

If employees are advised to go to HR with workplace concerns – and rightly so, it’s part of HR’s remit – where can HR turn to when it feels the same pressure? The CIPD said that 62% of HR professionals claim that their workload is unmanageable, while 43% of those surveyed said that their organisation’s management contributed to their woes.

Significantly, the CIPD found that just 50% of companies provided training to managers to deal with stress and that less than a third of managers are capable of handling sensitive discussions surrounding mental health.

“Not only are most managers ill equipped to support their teams through times of stress, but if they don’t go about their role in the right way, the impact on people’s well-being can be harmful,” said Rachel Suff, senior policy adviser at the CIPD said on the HR Grapevine website.

“Employers can introduce a suite of exemplary wellbeing policies and make a serious investment in employee health, but if their activity is not rooted in how people are managed, it will not have real impact,” she added.

Editor’s note: Do you or someone in your office suffer from stress? If you have some advice on where HR professionals can turn to for help with their own mental health issues, please email me on: and we’ll publish the suggestions online, anonymously if preferred.

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