5 Of The World’s Most Stressful Jobs (That May Just Surprise You)


We’ve all had at least some experience of a stressful workplace.  From the ever-increasing demands on our time to a seemingly never-ending to-do list to stay on top of.  It’s no surprise that the working world is a huge cause of stress and poor mental health.  But do you know which specific job roles cause the most stress?

If not, we’ve collected up five of the world’s most stress-inducing jobs.  Some of them may just surprise you…


  1. Dentists, doctors and other healthcare professionals

Let’s start with one that certainly won’t surprise you. Those working in the healthcare industry juggle stress in many forms…
Private Psychiatrist - Stethoscope
That could be an emergency patient being brought in unannounced, or simply shifts that can reach upwards of 24 hours. This level of stress is nothing new in the context of healthcare, and it’s no surprise that doctors and nurses in the UK are offered free counselling and psychological therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as and when they need it.

One of the key factors that is thought to contribute largely to the levels of stress within healthcare is the need to make quick decisions which quite literally have life and death consequences much of the time.  Even when there aren’t necessarily immediate life or death consequences, for example working as a dentist there is often lots of time spent working alone with little support from others.  This in itself is one of the reasons why dentists often consistently top the list of professionals with poor mental health.

It might also be no surprise to hear that research into the suicide rates for dentists and vets are consistently higher than most other job types.


  1. Police Officers, Firemen & Forces Veteranshigh stress jobs - picture of handcuffs

The other side of the table is not about making life changing decisions that affect others quickly, but being on the receiving end of decisions that others make that could cause you harm.  It again might be no surprise again then that police officers, firemen and forces veterans are also at high risk of consistent high stress, or a range of mental health problems – including post-traumatic stress disorder.

When you are placed into life-threatening situations each and every day, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – rising. That’s exactly the case for police officers. The level of stress caused in this particular job will naturally vary depending on the specific role of the individual, but even those officers who aren’t on the ‘front line’ are susceptible to high stress. Just like doctors, nurses and dentists, shifts can often be incredibly long, and overtime is an assumed (and very normal) part of the job.

Just like healthcare workers, police officers in the UK are entitled to ask for counselling whenever they may need it.


  1. Journalists and Reportersjournalists high stress - picture of a typewriter

From travelling to war-torn parts of the world to confronting and interviewing convicted criminals and traumatised people, the life of a journalist is not always a smooth one.

Though some reporters work on a local scale whilst others cover more global issues, the levels of stress that the job creates are not too dissimilar. There are a couple of factors at play here: firstly, the journalist must be willing to place themselves into potentially dangerous situations; and secondly, they must then prepare an article or report of some kind and deliver it to deadline. Granted, these are two different types of stress – but they’re stress all the same. Add to this the fact that some claim that the ‘death of print’ is on the way due to the rise of digital media, and you can see that journalists are exposed to quite the recipe for stress.

In more recent research into the area, it has been shown that journalists are at an increased risk above the general population of experiencing symptoms of PTSD – and surprisingly, the same is true for journalists that haven’t even left the newsroom.  One reason for this is that journalists, even in the office have to spend a great deal of time understanding and researching detail in potential stories.  Whilst this helps make clearer news articles, it also means that journalists are exposed to traumatic images, videos and information often for prolonged periods of time and very frequently, which are immediate increased risk factors for possible PTSD.


  1. Teachers

It’s easy for many people to assume that teachers have a relatively straightforward job with great deals of holiday and time off, but the reality is quite different.

teaching stress - picture of a class

Becoming a teacher is generally a decision made through a genuine desire to teach and help people, rather than through pragmatic considerations. The reason? Well, teaching is well-known for being quite low-paid, as well as having a relatively low maximum salary over the length of a career. But it’s not all about the money, of course. Teachers are sometimes given flack for having 8 weeks off over the summer, but this fails to consider the many stressors that are part-and-parcel of the job.

Whilst the time off may be a perk to this job, many teachers advise that during term time stress levels are high because for a condensed part of the day they are solely responsible for the safety, stimulation and wellbeing of upwards of 30 children.  Issues such as misbehaving kids, angry parents, marking deadlines, governmental changes, and many more all come together to create a stressful working environment. It’s for these reasons that having that passion for teaching is so essential for making a teacher that’s truly dedicated to their job.


  1. Airline pilots

What could be more relaxing than cruising through the air above the clouds?

airline pilot stress - picture of a plane

Unfortunately, being an airline pilot can often be anything but relaxing. There are a few reasons why this particular role can be so stressful, including: incredibly long shifts with little-to-no breaks in between, dealing with highly technical problems, navigating time zones without having time to adjust.  Recent data suggests that as many as 1 in 6 pilots has found themselves waking up at the cockpit, where their co-pilot is also asleep.  It won’t be a surprise to hear that with such long shifts and the added complication of circadian rhythm disruptions that much research has looked into pilot fatigue.  Around 75% of pilots report severe fatigue, and worryingly the number appears to be increasing year on year.

As with all of the stressful jobs on our list, the levels of stress will differ from employer to employer, but generally speaking airline pilots can be subject to some of the highest levels of stress. You only need look at recent news stories to understand that being a commercial airline pilot is often not the dream job it’s made out to be.


If you’re tackling work-related stress, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Or why not try some self-help solutions such as reading our other articles about stress management? You may be surprised at how much a little focus on yourself can be of help when you’re juggling a stressful job.


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