Work-related stress most often caused by heavy workloads and work-life balance
People may experience work-related stress for several reasons, for example, due to heavy workloads, or balancing work and personal life. High levels of work-related stress can have negative impacts on one's health and lead to lost hours and revenue. These aspects relate to the well-being of employed individuals and can be measured through the Statistical Framework on Quality of Employment. Information on mental health and work-related stress was collected in April 2023 for workers aged 15 to 69 years as part of a series of supplements to the Labour Force Survey.
Just over 4.1 million people indicated that they experienced high or very high levels of work-related stress, representing 21.2% of all employed people. The most common causes of work-related stress included a heavy workload, which affected 23.7% of employed people, as well as balancing work and personal life (15.7% of employed people). Women (22.7%) were more likely than men (19.7%) to experience high or very high levels of work-related stress.
Work-related stress most prevalent for those working in health care and social assistance
The industry with the greatest prevalence of work-related stress was health care and social assistance, where 27.3% of the employed experienced high or very high levels. The rates for men and women were similar.
This follows an earlier study which showed that the COVID-19 pandemic had led to increased levels of stress among health care workers, caused by a number of factors such as extended work hours, decreased vacation time and changes in the methods of delivering care.
In April 2023, those employed in health care and social assistance were more likely than the average worker to cite a heavy workload (32.3%, compared with 23.7% on average) and the emotional load (21.4%, compared with 11.7% on average) as causes of work-related stress.
Work-related stress varied by sex and industry. For example, work-related stress was more often reported by women than men in educational services (27.0% compared with 19.6% for men) and retail trade (17.4% compared with 14.1% for men). At the same time, men were more likely than women to report work-related stress in construction (17.2% compared with 12.6% for women) and other services (20.7% compared with 17.2% for women). These differences may reflect several factors, including differences between the occupations of women and men within industries.
Core-aged workers in management and in occupations usually requiring a higher level of education are more likely to experience work-related stress
Compared with other age groups, work-related stress was more common among core-aged workers (aged 25 to 54 years). In this age group, it was higher for those working in management (37.3%) and in occupations usually requiring a bachelor's degree or above (29.5%). In comparison, work-related stress was less common in occupations that usually require a high school diploma or less (13.5%).
Young people aged 15 to 24 had significantly lower rates of work-related stress (8.3%), while for workers aged 55 to 69 (21.3%), the prevalence of work-related stress was slightly below the rate for core-aged workers.
Days lost due to stress or mental health reasons
Work-related stress can have negative impacts, which can result in missing work. Among employed people, 7.5% had taken time off from their job or business because of stress or for mental health reasons in the 12 months before April 2023. This amounted to 2.4 days lost on average among all employed people over this period.
Note to readers
The data source for this release is the April Labour Force Survey (LFS), which was collected the week of April 9 to 15, 2023. While the main objective of the LFS is to provide information on the characteristics of the labour force, it also includes information on a wide variety of dimensions of quality of employment.
As part of its Labour Market Indicators program, Statistics Canada collects additional data on quality of employment through monthly and quarterly LFS supplementary questionnaires.
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; email@example.com) or Media Relations (firstname.lastname@example.org).