NEWS15 December 2022

Stress levels rise among US researchers

News North America People Wellbeing

US – More than eight in 10 US researchers experienced stress in the last year with a majority reporting burnout or exhaustion, according to research from the Insights Association (IA) and Opinium.


The research found that 82% of respondents had experienced stress in 2022, a 5% increase on 2021, with a 6% increase also seen in feeling ‘low’ or ‘down’ in the past year.

Exhaustion and burnout were cited by 55% of respondents, with 31% mentioning depression, albeit both were 3% below those reported in 2021.

The findings are based on research conducted in the US in September and October 2022 and included 409 responses from IA members and others working in research.

The study, which is now in its third year, is modelled after a UK study championed by the Market Research Society with support from Opinium and also conducted in Australia by The Research Society.

When compared to the US working population, market researchers and consumer insights professionals in the country were 25% more likely to experience stress and 24% more likely to have experienced exhaustion or burnout.

However, 67% of US researchers felt they would be supported at work if struggling with their mental health or wellbeing, up 10 percentage points versus last year.

More US employees reported being able to openly talk to their managers about their mental health ( 58%), up 12% versus last year, and 67% of workers said they would feel supported if struggling with their mental health at work, up 10% against last year.

Heavy workloads were a major source of stress for 51% of respondents, similar to 2021’s 52%, and half said they experience tight deadlines, pressure and heavy workloads often or all the time ( 56%, 51%, 51%, respectively).

More than a third of respondents said they dealt with long working hours often or all the time.

However, US researchers were unlikely to take time off work to deal with exhaustion or burnout, with 72% opting against time off in these circumstances.

Melanie Courtright, chief executive officer at the IA, said: “This year’s findings reinforce the urgency to address persistent issues of burnout, long hours and exhaustion among our employees.

“We hope these findings focus each insights organisation and department on the areas in need of improvement and will inspire progress.”

James Endersby, chief executive officer at Opinium, said: “We hope this report will inspire insights professionals across the US to take care of themselves and one another in these trying times.”