Survey shows average work lifecycle

The average adult’s professional life will involve six jobs, 12 pay rises – and one office romance, according to a survey of 2,000 workers.

The survey also found the average employee will take 125 days off sick, arrive late 188 times and have a total of ten job interviews.

Additionally, workers will have 875 grumbles about other colleagues or the boss, and three major bust-ups during their career.

The unpredictable economic climate also means the average worker will endure at least one period of unemployment or redundancy.

They will also suffer three periods of stress caused by long working hours and unmanageable workloads, or friction with other colleagues or the boss.

Paul Keenan, of mutual healthcare provider Benenden Health which commissioned the survey, said: “We hear how UK workers are working longer and harder than ever before but this health check of the average adult’s working life confirms what we feared.

“Within an average career span, you’re likely to find reasons to grumble 14 times a year yet will only change jobs once a decade – perhaps because the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side.

“Heavy workloads and disagreements with colleagues can all take a heavy toll on our well-being and many of us are seeing this spill over into our home lives.

“This is coupled with the ongoing threat of redundancy whilst the UK economy struggles to get back on track.

“Employers can take on the lion’s share of the responsibility. For example, if days lost to sick leave are on the rise, they can review how they can provide employees with a caring approach to sickness absence management.”

Workers are now likely to have at least one period during their working life where doctors will sign them off with stress.

Financial stability is a big concern for many adults. With an average starting wage of £10,983.50 and 12 pay rises over the course of 62.5 years, people struggle to cope with the rising cost of living.

Most will work their way through two long periods of financial worry before seeing light at the end of the tunnel.  For 34% of people this means finding a second job to make ends meet.

The study also revealed just one third of employees are truly happy with the way their career has worked out so far, and half of all adults have already had genuine reasons to worry that they might lose their job, which in turn affects their happiness and contentment in the role.

As a consequence, 45% say their performance at work was affected, half claimed their mental health was affected and 25% said this led to a strain on their marriage or relationship.

Four in ten people admit the demands of their job have had a negative impact on family life and relationships – with the average worker going through a rough patch with their partner at least twice during their working life.

One third of those polled admitted they sometimes lose the balance between their work and personal life – letting long hours take over.

And for 29%, the stress of work and the impact it has had on their personal life has led to them seeking medical help.

Heavy weight loss or gain, relationships ending, missing quality time with the children, arguments with a partner, tiredness and drinking too much are all cited as the consequences of holding down a stressful job.

Engineering workers will have the most pay rises over the course of their career getting ten boosts to their salary over their working lifetime.

Those in hospitality have the least amount of pay rises getting just five in total.

The culture and sport sector were also found to be the most likely to have an office romance, as well as take more sick days than any other industry.

Paul Keenan added: “There are small positives – for example, those losing control of a work-life balance are still in the minority. But with over third of people needing to find second jobs, maintaining this balance will become a losing battle.”


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