Work-related stress and worker burnout is a critical topic in today’s talent market as nearly every insurance organization across the nation competes to fill open positions.

But stress at work has reached epidemic proportions, according to the American Psychological Association, and showed little decline in 2023.

Recent findings from the APA show that 77 percent of U.S. workers reported stress at work in the past month (April 2023), with 57 percent reporting negative health effects as a result. The APA report, “Work in America Survey: Workplaces as Engines of Psychological Health & Wellbeing,” found that among workers overall, 33 percent said they intend to look for a new job at a different company or organization in the next year. Among those workers who said they are unsatisfied with the mental health and well-being support offered by their employer, that number rose to 57 percent.

While many industries are working to address workplace stress, there is a need for improvement by employers to create environments that allow for rest and relaxation, according to the survey’s researchers. The survey revealed that many workers are not getting the breaks from this stress that they both need and want. Only 35 percent reported that their employer offers a culture where breaks are encouraged. Some 40 percent reported that their employer offers a culture where time off is respected, and 29 percent reported that their employer offers a culture where managers encourage employees to take care of their mental health.

One survey respondent wrote: “Workload, not having enough employees, and working long hours have negative impact on my overall mental health, happiness, and well-being.”

New findings from the online Healthy Work Survey (HWS), based on the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health Quality of Work Life survey, reveal that 86 percent of workers reported stressful work (often/very often), and 88 percent reported often/very often “feeling used up at the end of the day.”

The percentage of workers who reported high-risk work stressors also reported the following:

  • High workloads/job demands — 80 percent
  • Low job control/resources — 60 percent
  • Low supervisor support — 55 percent
  • High work-family conflict — 55 percent
  • Low rewards (lack of promotions, fair earnings, respect and job security) — 50 percent

Eighteen different occupations are represented in the HWS survey, with the largest percentage of workers sampled from occupations related to: management, business and financial operations, sales, healthcare support, office and administrative support. Workers surveyed were also sampled from educational occupations, food preparation and service, production, transportation, and healthcare practitioners.

Sixty-four percent of respondents were women, and 75 percent were white, 7 percent black, 7 percent Hispanic/Latino and 3 percent Asian/Asian-American.

As of December 2023, 3,577 workers completed the online Healthy Work Survey (HWS).