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15 Job Burnout Statistics That Should Worry You

Written by: Ellyn Schinke, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

I think sometimes we think that burnout is “just a buzzword.” In fact, I get that question often. Why? You’d think we’d understand that it’s not, especially when the WHO designated burnout as an occupational phenomenon in 2019. However, maybe we don’t quite understand how problematic and prevalent it still really is.

I compiled 15 burnout statistics that we – organizations, leaders, HR professionals, etc. – should absolutely be worried about. For those corporate professionals, maybe these statistics will make you feel a little bit less alone. So, let’s dive into them…


1. 52% of all workers are feeling burned out. (Indeed)


2. Managers are just as likely, if not slightly more so, to suffer frequent or constant burnout (26% of managers vs. 24% of individual contributors). (Gallup)


For those people who are saying that burnout isn’t “real”, take a deep, deep look at these numbers. Burnout is not a fad. It is a highly prevalent phenomenon that is being experienced at every level, and that last piece an important additional piece of information to consider.


I have spoken to dozens of organizations at this point, and, for some reason, they all seem to think that their managers have it handled. I had one leader recently say something along the lines of “they’re more capable of handling that. They wouldn’t be where they are if they weren’t.” I wonder, would the managers agree?


As I write this, I’m just shy of 3 weeks removed from stepping down from a management position in my day job. For the previous 16 months, I had been juggling 10-15 private tutoring students, 22 direct reports, and my rapidly growing burnout coaching and speaking business. It had gotten to the point where it was unmanageable. I just couldn’t do it all anymore, so I stepped down and passed on my team to one of my former direct reports. Speaking as one of those managers, I can tell you with crystal clear certainty that being a manager was one of the most stressful parts of my job. Why? Because as a manager – or at least as a good one that has empathy and compassion for their direct reports – you’re juggling the stresses and concerns of not just yourself, but your entire team.


It takes an emotional toll, especially because of the powerlessness of being a manager. You can hear all the grievances in the world and be sympathetic to them, but oftentimes, there’s little to nothing that you can do.


So, let this be a lesson to all leaders: don’t forget about your managers. They’re dealing with a lot, and they are at the crux of your organization's success or failure.


How has the pandemic affected burnout rates?


3. 67% of workers believe burnout has worsened due to the pandemic (Indeed)


4. Prior to the pandemic, just 5% of employed workers and 7% of unemployed workers said their mental health was poor or very poor. Now, 18% of employed and 27% of unemployed workers say so (FlexJobs)


Though normalcy – or as close as we’re likely to get to it – may have returned to most places, the pandemics effects can still be felt and nowhere is that truer than in workplace burnout. The pandemic spiked the already prevalent mental health issues, including burnout, in most organizations. I point this out to demonstrate the necessity of understanding and caring for your employees’ mental health. However, some organizations aren’t doing that great of a job with that…


5. 70% of professionals feel their employers are not doing enough to prevent or alleviate burnout within their organization (Deloitte)


6. Only 21% of workers say they are able to have open, productive conversations with HR about solutions to their burnout (FlexJobs), with 56% going so far as saying that their HR departments discouraged these conversations (FlexJobs)


7. 21% of professionals their company does not offer any programs or initiatives to prevent or alleviate burnout (Deloitte)


8. A top driver of burnout is lack of support or recognition from leadership (Deloitte)


Perhaps of all these statistics, these are the most important. There’s a common misconception that burnout is about individuals, not organizations. Let me just say right now, that assumption is wrong. In a lot of my work, I focus on individuals purely because corporate cultures are SO slow to change. However, make no mistake: burnout is about your workplace, not your people. And the fact of the matter is, that most workplaces aren’t doing a great job at supporting their employees through their burnout.


The statistics in this section that shocked me the most were about organizational HR. To hear that burnout conversations are being dismissed and discouraged is not only incredibly frustrating but disheartening. Literally, the entire burden of overcoming burnout at these institutions, likely at most institutions, is falling squarely on the shoulders of the individual employees. Yet, it’s the organizations often that are contributing to the burnout their employees are experiencing.


There are so many things that organizations can do! They can hire speakers (like me!), leverage workplace wellness initiatives, or partner with wellness apps to offer their employees these services. However, it can be even simpler and more cost-effective than that: simply have these important, supportive conversations with your employees.


Talking is free. If an employee initiates a conversation about burnout with a manager or their HR, have it. You could also start a discussion about best practices and burnout solutions within your organization on a more personal level. There are many options. However, as the last stat says, burnout thrives when there’s a lack of support or recognition from leadership. So, do your organization a favor: don’t ignore employee burnout when you see it.


9. 37% of respondents are currently working longer hours than pre-pandemic (FlexJobs)


10. 61% of remote workers and 53% of on-site workers now find it more difficult to “unplug” from work during off-hours (Indeed)


11. Only 60% of workers can strongly agree that they know what is expected of them at work (Gallup), which is known to be one of the contributing factors to burnout


12. 25% of professionals say they never or rarely take all their vacation days.

These statistics agree with what is known to cause burnout at work.


In an article from Harvard Business Review, wherein one of the foremost burnout researchers, Christina Maslach, was interviewed. This article highlights some of the key contributors to workplace burnout, and these statistics confirm them: long hours, difficulty unplugging, a lack of clarity around their workplace expectations, and lack of time off.


So, we know the causes. We know what we can do. What’s the consequence of doing nothing?


13. Burned-out employees are 63% more likely to take a sick day and 2.6 times as likely to be actively seeking a different job (Gallup)


14. Workplace stress is estimated to cost the US economy more than $500 billion, and each year 550 million workdays are lost due to stress on the job (APA)


It’s easy for an organization to look at burnout stats and say, “why should we care?” Well, these statistics paint a picture as to why.


When employees are burned out, organizations lose out. It’s just that simple. One poll that I did not include from the APA said that 19% of employees reported a lack of effort in their work, and 36% reported cognitive exhaustion. If anywhere near those numbers are not putting in their full effort or are mentally drained in their work at your organization, just think about the productivity and workplace impacts that burnout is having.


So, what can we do? Fortunately, some articles have already answered that question, and that brings us to our final statistic


15. What would help according to a survey done by Spring Health straight from the mouths of employees: less hours, more PTO, empathy and support from managers, and better mental health-related policies and benefits, to name a few…


Sometimes the mistake organizations make is assuming that they know what their employees want and need. The HBR article, “Burnout is About Your Workplace, Not Your People, describes universities that soundproof a performing arts center when all their people wanted was a $300 investment in new music stands and corporations who put in a rooftop volleyball court, which created disdain and envy when it wasn’t used. These are textbook examples of corporate assumptions and placing resources into something that your employees don’t value, and this will create more animosity than simply asking your employees, what can we do?


So much of this is about communication. So much of this is about recognition. More often than not, your employees just want to know you recognize the strain they’re under. However, these words cannot just be spoken once. These conversations need to continue, and, hopefully, they’ll help to create anti-burnout organizations.


So, is burnout legitimate? Yes, absolutely. Is it affecting our workers tremendously? Of course! Is there anything organizations can do? Without a doubt, and they can start with acknowledging it, having conversations about it, and asking their employees what they need.

It’s as simple and complicated as that.


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Ellyn Schinke, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ellyn Schinke is a former scientist turned top coach and international speaker specializing in burnout and stress management. After burning out while pursuing her Ph.D., Ellyn was sick of all the cookie-cutter, BS burnout tips online and sought out the real, tangible tactics that would actually make a difference in her life. As a result, burnout when from being her lifestyle to her passion. Now, she's focused on helping corporate professionals and businesses free themselves from burnout and take back their lives. Ellyn is the founder and CEO of Coach Ellyn LLC, one of the top burnout coaches on Google, host of the Burned Out to Badass podcast, and more. Her mission: Make burnout a choice.

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