The 18 most stressful jobs (and average salaries)

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MiningNo matter what industry you work in, stress is an unwelcome part of any occupation. A recent study by Chicago-based employee assistance provider ComPsych deemed “unclear expectations from supervisors” as the most stressful part of any job. The study focused specifically on stress in the workplace during times of change. Of course, that notes just one source of workplace stress people face every day.

With these types of daily challenges in mind, CareerTrends found the 28 most stressful jobs in America using data from O*NET, an occupational database sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor. O*NET assigns scores in various categories for each occupation based on the results to survey questions sent out to employers.

In examining the jobs that landed on the list, we found there was no correlation between total stress score and average salary. Unfortunately for these employees, working the most stressful job doesn’t guarantee the biggest payout.

For this list, we focused on three different scores, all graded on a 1 to 5 scale: frequency of conflict situations, exposure to hazardous conditions, and stress tolerance. Only jobs with at least 10,000 total employees were included.

These three grades were combined to create a “total stress score,” and the occupations with the highest total stress scores were chosen for this list.

Survey scores explained:

    • Frequency of conflict situations: How often are there conflict situations the employee has to face in this job?

 

    • Exposure to hazardous conditions: How often does this job require exposure to hazardous conditions?

 

    • Stress tolerance: Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.

Note: In the event of ties, the job with the higher stress tolerance score was ranked higher on the list.

 

#18. Pump Operator

 

Total stress score: 11.56
Conflict frequency score: 2.85
Hazard exposure score: 4.2
Stress tolerance score: 4.52

Average annual salary: $41,643
Total employment: 12,170

#17. Oil Drill Operator

 

Total stress score: 11.57
Conflict frequency score: 3.29
Hazard exposure score: 4.2
Stress tolerance score: 4.08

Average annual salary: $50,061
Total employment: 26,480

#16. Elevator Installer

 

Total stress score: 11.66
Conflict frequency score: 2.67
Hazard exposure score: 4.93
Stress tolerance score: 4.06

Average annual salary: $68,792
Total employment: 20,590

#15. Stationary Engineer

 

Total stress score: 11.69
Conflict frequency score: 3.21
Hazard exposure score: 4.55
Stress tolerance score: 3.93

Average annual salary: $48,323
Total employment: 37,550

#14. Petroleum Pump Operator

 

Total stress score: 11.7
Conflict frequency score: 2.77
Hazard exposure score: 4.9
Stress tolerance score: 4.03

Average annual salary: $54,492
Total employment: 41,700

#13. Conveyor Operator

 

Total stress score: 11.72
Conflict frequency score: 3.17
Hazard exposure score: 4.3
Stress tolerance score: 4.25

Average annual salary: $31,891
Total employment: 38,830

#12. Correctional Officer Supervisor

 

Total stress score: 11.72
Conflict frequency score: 4.46
Hazard exposure score: 2.86
Stress tolerance score: 4.4

Average annual salary: $56,184
Total employment: 45,150

#11. Powerhouse Equipment Installer

 

Total stress score: 11.73
Conflict frequency score: 2.84
Hazard exposure score: 4.75
Stress tolerance score: 4.14

Average annual salary: $67,128
Total employment: 22,120

#10. Police Supervisor

 

Total stress score: 11.74
Conflict frequency score: 4.17
Hazard exposure score: 2.81
Stress tolerance score: 4.76

Average annual salary: $68,973
Total employment: 101,420

#9. Refrigeration Mechanic

 

Total stress score: 11.93
Conflict frequency score: 3.29
Hazard exposure score: 4.72
Stress tolerance score: 3.92

Average annual salary: $40,601
Total employment: 261,390

#8. Gas Derrick Operator

 

Total stress score: 11.93
Conflict frequency score: 3.38
Hazard exposure score: 4.62
Stress tolerance score: 3.93

Average annual salary: $45,966
Total employment: 20,760

#7. Nurse Anesthetist

 

Total stress score: 11.93
Conflict frequency score: 3.97
Hazard exposure score: 3.03
Stress tolerance score: 4.93

Average annual salary: $147,256
Total employment: 36,590

#6. Power Plant Operator

 

Total stress score: 11.94
Conflict frequency score: 2.94
Hazard exposure score: 4.8
Stress tolerance score: 4.2

Average annual salary: $62,908
Total employment: 40,300

#5. Furnace Operator

 

Total stress score: 11.98
Conflict frequency score: 3.59
Hazard exposure score: 4.72
Stress tolerance score: 3.67

Average annual salary: $34,012
Total employment: 20,590

#4. Forest Firefighter

 

Total stress score: 12.08
Conflict frequency score: 3.61
Hazard exposure score: 4.08
Stress tolerance score: 4.39

Average annual salary: $38,890
Total employment: 308,790

#3. Police Patrol Officer

 

Total stress score: 12.09
Conflict frequency score: 4.56
Hazard exposure score: 2.85
Stress tolerance score: 4.68

Average annual salary: $47,819
Total employment: 638,810

#2. Quality Control Manager

 

Total stress score: 12.11
Conflict frequency score: 3.92
Hazard exposure score: 3.61
Stress tolerance score: 4.58

Average annual salary: $88,381
Total employment: 167,200

#1. Continuous Mining Machine Operator

 

Total stress score: 12.21
Conflict frequency score: 3.25
Hazard exposure score: 4.9
Stress tolerance score: 4.06

Average annual salary: $43,099
Total employment: 11,540

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