South Africa’s top 10 stressful jobs

Screening & Selection

South Africa’s top 10 stressful jobs

A recent survey by Pharma Dynamics has ranked the ten most stressful jobs in South Africa. The results may surprise you…

Over 2,000 working age adults from 40 professions participated in the survey, the goal of which was to discover the extent of job-related stress in different industries. In order to obtain an overall measure of job-related stress, several triggers were assessed and combined, including:

  • Extent of mental demands
  • Extent of physical demands
  • Amount of travel necessary
  • Number of hours worked
  • Possible risk exposure – physical or financial
  • Amount of possible conflict in the workplace
  • The risk of public scrutiny

The most stressful and least stressful jobs in South Africa

Unsurprisingly to many, pilots took the number one spot on the list. This was due mainly to their long working hours, extended periods away from home, the potential for personal risk and the taxing mental demands of the role.

The least stressful position according to the survey? Out of 40 professions, economists came in last. In the current South African economic climate, this may be surprising to hear, given the the instability in our markets.

The second most stressful role in South Africa went to hairdressers. People in this role cited pressure from public scrutiny, as well as extreme competitiveness in the industry and hectic deadlines as the reasons behind their job-related stress.

Farmers ranked at number three on the top ten list. While one might imagine that farm life is far more relaxing compared to the hustle and bustle of city living, it seems that the shifting food markets and risk of bad weather/drought contribute a great deal of stress to the role.

The complete top ten list

  1. Pilots
  2. Hairstylists
  3. Farmers
  4. Film directors
  5. Nurses
  6. Police Officers
  7. Corporate executives
  8. Company CEOs
  9. Doctors
  10. Singers

Besides the job roles in the top ten positions, it seems that many South Africans are feeling the burden of a high stress load in their workplace. Out of the 2,000 survey participants, over 31% rated their jobs as ‘extremely stressful’. On the other hand, 29% indicated that their work stress was at a manageable level, leaving 40% with a mild level of stress.


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