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Australia’s most stressed professions

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2013 – June 2014 (n=48,947).

Affecting almost one quarter of the population (or 4,640,000 people) in the 12 months to June 2014, stress is the most common mental health issue in Australia. In recognition of Mental Health Week (5–11 October), Roy Morgan Research investigates how a person’s profession relates to their likelihood of suffering from stress.

As our recent Spotlight on Australians’ Health in the latest State of the Nation Report explored in detail, people looking for full- and/or part-time work are noticeably more likely than the average Aussie to have experienced stress in the past year. But what about people in paid employment?

Well, that depends on the job. The latest Roy Morgan data shows that Sales Support Workers are the most stressed occupation, with almost half (48.3%) experiencing stress in an average 12 months. Hospitality workers (37.7%), Legal, Social and Welfare Professionals (35%) and Carers and Aides (34.6%) also report an above-average incidence.

Professions most likely to have experienced stress in past year


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2013 – June 2014 (n=48,947).

Rounding out the five professions most likely to have experienced stress in the past year were Health and Welfare Support Workers (33.9%).

Among the occupations least likely to be affected by stress are Skilled Animal and Horticultural Workers (7.1%), Clerical and Office Support Workers (11.6%) and Storepersons (13.1%), all of whom are even less prone to stress than retirees (14.3%).

Angela Smith, Group Account Director, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“In the last five years, stress has risen slightly among Australians, with almost one quarter of the population experiencing it in the past year. Among working Aussies, Sales Support Workers reported the highest incidence of stress, ahead of those employed in the Hospitality industry at a non-managerial level.

“Both professions are in constant contact with an often-demanding public, and are not generally well paid. Furthermore, people employed in these professions are frequently young — and our data indicates that 18-24 year-olds are more likely than any other age group to be affected by stress.

“People working in the caring professions are also more likely to suffer from stress, which is not surprising given their exposure to people in trying, sometimes tragic circumstances.

“On a brighter note, it appears that working with animals or plants is one way of avoiding stress, as is retirement! Being out of work, on the other hand, increases a person’s likelihood of experiencing stress. Certainly, there’s nothing relaxing about competing with hundreds of other job-seekers and waiting for hours in Centrelink queues.

“Stress is unpleasant enough in its own right, but of greater concern is the potential impact it can have on our health. Anxiety is also increasing among the population, with some 16% of Australians reporting anxiety, so awareness-raising events like Mental Health Week serve a very important purpose.”

For comments or more information about Roy Morgan Research’s health data, please contact:

For comments or more information please contact:
Portia Morgan, Account Director - Consumer Products
Office: +61 (03) 9223 2436

About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%