Special Report

Workers Taking the Most Sick Days

9. Managers/Executives
> Number of days missed: 0.36
> Cost of lost productivity: $15.7 billion
> Unhealthy weight or chronic health condition: 78.8%
> Job types: CEO, executive director

Although managers and executives tend to miss fewer days than the majority of professions, the cost of lost productivity is quite high. Annually, companies lose $15.7 billion a year for lost productivity when executives and managers miss work. The health of managers is a mixed bag. For instance, approximately 22.4% indicated they have high blood pressure, more than any other profession except for transportation workers. However, these professionals also tend to have among the lowest rates of recurring pain in the neck, back and legs.

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8. Professional
> Number of days missed: 0.37
> Cost of lost productivity: $24.2 billion
> Unhealthy weight or chronic health condition: 74.8%
> Job types: Lawyer, accountant, engineer

Professional workers — such as lawyers, engineers, accountants and bankers — were among the least likely to have above-normal weight or suffer from a chronic condition, behind only teachers, nurses and physicians. These workers also were among the most likely to be in good physical health. In addition to good physical health, these workers also were likely to enjoy their lives and jobs. Among individuals surveyed by Gallup in 2012, only teachers and physicians gave their lives higher evaluations than workers in professional occupations. Also, respondents from just three of 13 other occupations gave higher ratings to their work environments.

7. Manufacturing/Production
> Number of days missed: 0.38
> Cost of lost productivity: $2.8 billion
> Unhealthy weight or chronic health condition: 82.0%
> Job types: Assembly line workers, bakers, machine workers

Manufacturing and production workers, which include assembly line workers and other factory jobs, cannot afford to risk job security by missing too much work. They were one of the three professional categories most likely to report being unable to provide adequate shelter or food for their families. They also were among the most likely groups to contract certain common diseases such as colds, the flu and headaches. However, they have among the lowest levels of cancer diagnosis.

6. School Teacher
> Number of days missed: 0.39
> Cost of lost productivity: $5.6 billion
> Unhealthy weight or chronic health condition: 72.6%
> Job types: High school teacher, special education teacher, teaching assistants

Teachers tend to be in be in better health compared to most other professions. Just 72.6% are above normal weight or have at least one chronic health condition, a lower percentage than any other profession except for doctors. Teachers’ well-being is higher than all professions except for doctors. They scored especially well in terms of emotional health. More than 90% of teachers indicated they experienced a lot of enjoyment in the past day, a higher percentage than all other professions measured. Although teachers are in better health, they miss more days than many professions. Witters noted that teachers can get a substitute to take over the class, making staying at home due to illness more manageable than other professions.

5. Transportation
> Number of days missed: 0.40
> Cost of lost productivity: $3.5 billion
> Unhealthy weight or chronic health condition: 86.0%
> Job types: Bus drivers, flight attendants, air traffic controllers

Transportation workers include taxi, truck and bus drivers, as well as delivery company employees. People in such jobs received the lowest well-being index score from Gallup-Healthways, due largely to poor self-evaluations, poor levels of emotional health and the lowest evaluations of their work environments of any workers. Additionally, the percentage of transportation workers who had been told they had diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure were higher than for all other occupations. Transportation workers were also the most likely to have either an unhealthy weight or a chronic health condition.

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