South Africa's Most Stressful Jobs Revealed

South Africa's most stressful jobs revealed | Life Insurance |


A recent study performed by Pharma Dynamics, has revealed interesting results on what the most stressful jobs in South Africa are, and surprisingly, the common corporate-related jobs aren’t at the top of the list. Stress can be measured in different ways, and different jobs can surface different types of stress-related symptoms, but according to the 2 000 respondents who come from over 40 different professional backgrounds, which professionals are the most stressed out?


The study by the well-known pharmaceutical company measured job-related stress according to the mental and physical demands of a job, the required travelling involved, deadlines to be met, the amount of time spent in the public eye and/or subject to public commentary, the amount of exposure to conflict-related situations, and the risks linked to a job. These were identified as potential situations in which stress could be sparked. The results below reveal the top ten most stressful occupations, one being the most stressful.




Stress Score





Hair stylist






Film director






Police officer



Corporate executive












As the results show, the corporate executive, CEO and health professions are further down the list than a lot of us would probably have guessed they’d be. Pilots have the most stressful position in the airline industry. The amount of personal risk, long working hours, and physical and mental strain placed on pilots led them to clinch this top spot. Pilots not only have to fly an aircraft for tremendously long, consecutive hours while dealing with weather conditions, but they are also responsible for getting hundreds of passengers safely to their destinations.


Hair stylists claimed the second spot on the list. Reasons include the competitive nature of the industry, dealing with harsh fumes and chemicals resulting in damage to their skin, the long periods of standing up leading to long-term back pain, and the pressure placed on them by clients to get their hair styled correctly.


Coming in third was the profession of farming. While the idea of living on and running a farm sounds idyllic, South Africa’s harsh drought conditions and weak economy contribute to farming placing third among the most stressful occupations. Apart from the physical stress placed on farmers who work outside for long hours during uncooperative weather conditions, farmers are also struggling to make profits during these tough economic times, no doubt leading to high levels of stress.


Meditation | Life Insurance |


If you’re in one of the above professions or know someone who is and stress has caught up with you or them, how best can you start to deal with it, or what suggestions can you make to a friend? Stress can cause a variety of short- and long-term effects on our bodies, from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), eczema and heart disease, to anxiety and depression. If you’re already feeling these effects Warren Munitz, founder of Integrative Life Coaching, advises that when you’re feeling particularly stressed, there are some exercises you can do to combat it:


“Inhale and mentally count to four, pause and exhale and mentally count to 6. Concentrate on counting more than breathing. It is important to synchronise your counting with your breath and not your breath with your counting. Writing down your thoughts, especially how you feel is a great form of stress therapy, and speak to a professional who deals with stress management, learning how to effectively engage with your emotions will change your life.”


Gisèle Wertheim Aymés, editor and owner of Longevity Live online magazine, suggests three sustainable ways to manage stress levels. “Eat healthy foods high in vitamin B like almonds, turkey, avocados, eggs and salmon. Do yoga. Yoga slows your heart rate, decreases your blood pressure and eases breathing. It helps increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress more flexibly. Sleep… Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night and if you're getting less, you're going to get stressed.”


If you’re currently feeling the effects of stress, consult a professional who can give you the tools to combat it. Health is your and your family’s most important asset, so ensuring you are covered by Life Insurance, and that you take care of yourself during stressful times will help set you up for a successful life and career, no matter which industry you’re in.

Compare Car Insurance Quotes

Our trusted partners