Workers aged 30-49 worst for sick leave

Workers age 30 to 49 are facing a major health squeeze, taking more sick leave than any other age group and a third are constantly stressed, according to new research.

This middle band of workers is facing a major health and wellbeing squeeze that is directly affecting their workplace productivity, according to research from Axa PPP Healthcare. Those aged 30 to 49 average 2.3 sick days in the past six months, and quarter have taken 3 or 4 days off.

Twelve per cent of this middle age group have taken the equivalent of a working week off sick in the past six months, compared to 6 per cent 18 to 29 year olds and just 5 per cent of those aged 50 to 69.

The research also found middle aged workers are not taking positive steps to help ensure good health. One in five 30 to 49 year olds regularly skip meals altogether five or more days per week compared with 15 per cent of 18 per cent 29 year olds and just 8 per cent of those aged 50 to 69.

These workers also demonstrate a fairly negative outlook with regards to their jobs. Fifteen per cent of 30 to 49 year olds feel they don’t have a career path, and 29 per cent of 30 to 49 year olds say they feel as if their career path has reached a plateau.

Twenty-seven per cent of middle aged workers – the most of any age group – feel as if their employment situation does not allow them to pursue their top life priorities.

Furthermore, 38 per cent of middle aged workers feel stressed all or most of the time. The chief causes of stress for this age group are: financial worries (43 per cent) and pressure from or worries about work (41 and 38 per cent, respectively). Thirty-seven per cent of workers in their 30s say they feel older than their years.

Axa PPP Healthcare medical director for health services Dr Steve Iley says: “Employers need to recognise that these middle aged workers are a particularly squeezed group, struggling with work and home pressures. The research suggests that many are not motivated or feeling valued in their work, an issue we would encourage employers to proactively address as the 30-49 age group, who are likely to have at least 20 years left in the workplace. Employers need to support their workers’ mental and physical health, offering positive steps to ensure wellbeing now will help to ensure resilience in future.”