The 5 most stressful jobs in South Africa

It’s a well-known fact that stress is not uncommon in the workplace and that some jobs are more stressful than others. The top three causes of stress in the workplace are competitiveness between colleagues, deadlines that are very hard to meet and relationship issues. Too much stress can be bad for employees. Stress can have a huge impact on the productivity of a business / company, and affect the well-being, efficiency and mental and physical health of employees.

If you’re job hunting you should also take the amount of stress that comes with the job into account. Here are a list of the 5 most stressful jobs in South Africa:

Teacher: Individuals in this popular profession may only spend a few hours at schools teaching pupils and get more vacation days than other professions, but that doesn’t mean that being a teacher in South Africa isn’t stressful or doesn’t mean lots of hard work. Remember that teachers have to set up lesson plans for every day (which could mean lots of late nights) and that some teachers are directly involved in extra curricular activities at the schools they teach.

Teacher iN SA

For example: Mr Smith might be teaching maths every day, but he’s also the head high jumping coach and the assisting tennis coach at his school. Let’s not forget that teachers also get to deal with rowdy and disrespectful kids who sometimes have no respect for authority which can only increase their stress level.

Miner: The mining industry is one of the biggest industries in South Africa and can also be one of the more stressful ones (depending on the kind of work you’re doing). Doing accounting or administration for a mining group can have its fair share of stress, but it’s definitely not as stressful as the hard work that miners do day in day out below the ground.

Mining in South Africa

Miners are faced with challenges like meeting quotas for mineral extraction, long hours under ground  and the constant threat of a cave-in that could kill them. Being a miner takes a lot of guts. The SA mining industry also has its fair share of strikes over the last few years, causing increased stress levels for everyone involved in it.

Police Officer: When you’re a police officer your main job is to keep and maintain the peace. This could involve catching a thief, rapist, murderer, drug dealer, escaped convict or being part of a task force. Being a police officer can be very stressful, especially in South Africa. You could find yourself in a life-threatening situation every day you’re on the job.

SAPS Officers

Becoming a police officer in the SAPS is a lengthy process and can be very stressful as well.  If you apply to join the police and you are accepted into the officer training course you can expect to undergo a rigorous training program. This includes a year of theory and practical studies, 6 months of working as a student constable and another year working as a constable before you’re appointed as a fully fledged member of the SAPS.

Air Traffic Controller: There might not be many air traffic controller positions in South Africa, but working in this profession can be very stressful. Imagine sitting in an airport’s control tower and directing aircraft to the correct runways. If you do it the wrong way you could be the reason that two passenger airplanes collide mid-air or on the runway at an airport.

Air Traffic Controller

Becoming an Air Traffic Controller requires some highly specialized knowledge, skills and abilities and can be a lengthy process. If you’re thinking of pursuing this career in the aviation field you can either apply for a bursary via ATNS (Air Traffic and Navigation Services) or enroll in a program at the South African Air Force. Take note that approval into one of these programs is subject to a medical exam. You have to be declared mentally and medically fit to do this extremely stressful job.

Healthcare Professional: Working in the medical field in South Africa can be very stressful, especially because you have people’s lives in your hands. It doesn’t matter if you choose to be a doctor, nurse, surgeon or specialist, stress will be part of your training process when you’re studying and in your daily routine when you’re finally doing the job you’ve studied for. Healthcare professionals who tend to terminally ill patients normally also face emotional stress. Many healthcare professionals also function on a lot less sleep than persons in other professions.


To become a doctor in South Africa you have to study for seven years (of which two years are practical community service). In order to qualify to practice as an enrolled nurse, students must complete a two year academic course (which includes 2,000 hours of clinical practice). Not everyone has what it takes to be a healthcare professional.

Well, there you have it, a list of the 5 most stressful jobs in South Africa. Can you think of another profession that should be on this list? Leave a comment on this article and let us know. Your feedback will be appreciated.

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