15 high-paying jobs in South Africa with the least amount of stress

 ·21 Mar 2017

An October 2016 survey conducted by mental wellness advocate, Pharma Dynamics, revealed which careers rank among the most stressful in South Africa.

Almost 2,000 respondents living and working in South Africa participated in the online survey, which aimed to measure job-related stress based on several stress triggers.

These included factors such as the physical and mental demands of a job, deadlines, how much traveling is required, whether it entails working long hours, being exposed to public scrutiny, dealing with conflict and generally what type of risks are associated with various professions.

Based on the findings, pilots claimed the top spot overall, largely due to the high degree of personal risk the job poses to themselves and others. The taxing physical and mental demands of the role, on top of working long and arduous hours, also added to its high stress rating.

10 most stressful jobs in South Africa and how much they earn 

# Occupation Stress score Average annual salary (rands)
1 Pilot 3.74 360 000
2 Hair stylist 3.00 65 000
3 Farmer 2.98 98 000
4 Film Director 2.89 41 200
5 Nurse 2.89 86 000
6 Police officer 2.86 134 000
7 Corporate executive 2.79 880 000
8 CEO 2.79 1 023 000
9 Doctor 2.74 455 000
10 Singer 2.71 40 000

But what about those of us who want to earn well but don’t want to work in stressful environments?

The Occupational Information Network (ONET) recently released a list of the most and least stressful jobs worldwide.

ONET rates the “stress” for each job on a scale from 0-100 (with 100 being the most stressful), taking into account the amount of criticism the average worker in the field would have to face on a daily basis, and how often the job requires dealing calmly and effectively in high stress situations.

None of the jobs on the list are “stress free”, however, and the report does not take into account the stress levels of specific companies – meaning the results should be taken purely as an aggregate.

10 most stressful jobs worldwide

  1. Urologist (100)
  2. Anesthesiologist Assistants (98)
  3. Nurse Anesthetists (98)
  4. Telephone Operators (98)
  5. Acute Care Nurses (97)
  6. Dancers (97)
  7. Obstetricians and Gynecologists (97)
  8. Police, Fire, and Ambulance Dispatchers (97)
  9. Surgeons (96)
  10. Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers (95)

10 least stressful jobs worldwide

  1. Models (24)
  2. Library Technicians (24)
  3. Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products (37)
  4. Couriers and Messengers (37)
  5. Tapers (44)
  6. Fabric Menders, Except Garment (45)
  7. Hunters and Trappers (46)
  8. Driver/Sales Workers (46)
  9. Coil Winders, Tapers, and Finishers (47)
  10. Biological Technicians (47)

There is a clear correlation between the average wage and the stress being experienced by the average employee, but this can change depending on individual circumstances.

For example, high-end models can expect to earn millions of rands and face constant high-pressure situations – but the average South African model can expect to earn far less, and by extension expect far less stress.

With that in mind, BusinessTech has compiled a list of the highest-paying jobs in South Africa in relation to the amount of day-to-day stress an average employee in the field can can expect to experience.

The list focuses on jobs under a stress-level of 75 – the official median point of the list – and consolidates similar jobs and fields of study. You can find the complete list here.

Salaries were based on a combination of Payscale, Mywage and StatsSA data.

Occupation Stress level (out of 100) Average annual salary (rands)
Chemical Technician 54 R217 000
Food scientist 56 R217 000
Mathematician 57 R247 000
Economist 59 R249 000
Statistician 59 R300 000
Biomedical engineer 61 R347 000
Agricultural engineer 61 R348 000
Physicist 61 R352 000
Information Systems (IS) manager 64 R490 000
Actuary 64 R612 000
Payroll administrator 67 R170 000
Orthodontist 67 R520 000
Optometrist 70 R240 000
Civil engineer 71 R330 000
Nuclear engineer 73 R480 000

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