Jobs in America are likely to do more harm than good to workers’ mental health, and it comes at a great cost to the economy, according to a new survey.
A Gallup survey of nearly 16,000 working adults in the US found that nearly one in five workers rate their mental health as only “fair” or “poor,” with those employees taking an average of 12 unplanned days off annually. . The researchers said that across the workforce, collectively missed days resulted in a loss of about $48 billion annually in productivity.
Workers in better mental condition have 2.5 days of unplanned absences a year. According to Gallup, broken down, a missed workday costs at least $340 per day for full-time workers and $170 per day for part-time workers.
Young women struggle the most
Working women under the age of 30 are more likely to struggle with their mental health than other groups in the workforce, with 36% of young female workers reporting low mental health.
Roughly, four in 10 workers said their job negatively affects their mental health, while three in 10 workers say it makes them mentally healthy. Nearly half of workers under the age of 30 report that their jobs cause them stress, depression, and other problems. In contrast, workers 65 and older say their jobs have a positive impact on their mental health.
Gallup said that as workers progress in their careers, they do more meaningful work and have autonomy as well — characteristics of a job that make it more fulfilling, Gallup said. More workers in their later years are also choosing to continue working, perhaps because their job brings them satisfaction.
A recent report from the Office of the Surgeon General found that tough managers and a cutthroat work culture can take a heavy toll., According to the study, job factors such as low pay, discrimination, harassment, overwork, long travel and other factors can lead to depression and anxiety, along with chronic physical health conditions such as heart disease and cancer.