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By Ana Lucia Murillo
October 21, 2021
Photo of a row of burned out matches signifying the feeling of being burnt out after working
Money; Getty Images

It’s almost certain you know someone experiencing job burnout. The phenomenon has become particularly rampant in the pandemic, when workers have faced longer hours and more stress on the job.

According to a Glassdoor report released Thursday, it looks like workers are a lot more open to talking about job burnout and mental health in general. Job reviews on the career website including the word "burnout" have spiked by 100% since the start of the pandemic, and those mentioning the term "mental health" have increased by 143%. So it appears there's a shift happening in the conversation around mental health in the workplace.

In the analysis, Glassdoor looked at millions of reviews from full-time current and ex-employees from September 2019 through September of this year. Even after the steep increases in mentions of mental health and burnout, these phrases are still seen in fewer than 1% of reviews on the platform. Specifically, researchers found that by last month, 0.40% and 0.56% of reviews mentioned burnout and mental health, respectively.

Glassdoor senior economist Daniel Zhao told Money that even though the figures may seem tiny, they are significant. "Glassdoor reviews cover a wide variety of topics because workers have a wide variety of factors that are important to them," Zhao says. "Very popular topics are generally still only mentioned in 10% to 20% of reviews. So ultimately, even though the share of reviews discussing them is small, the increase is a reflection of an increasing willingness by workers to discuss and speak out about mental health topics."

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Workers who wrote about burnout in their reviews overwhelmingly rated their current or ex-companies negatively, and more of them became negative as the pandemic continued.

When mentioning mental health in Glassdoor job reviews, however, it’s been a different story. At the start of the pandemic, many reviewers discussed mental health positively. This is probably a reflection of how many employers began offering additional mental health resources during the pandemic, such as expanding access to mental health benefits and even paying bonuses to workers for using vacation time.

More recently, there has been more of a mix of negative and positive when "mental health" has come up in reviews. "As the pandemic has worn on, sentiment has trended lower as more employees feel burned out or feel stuck in an ill-fitting job," Glassdoor's Zhao says.

Best (and worst) jobs for work-life balance

Based on other research, we know that employees who shifted to working from home during the pandemic are working more hours per week than before. Burnout is rising more rapidly among women than men, a recent study found, with over 40% of women and only 35% of men citing burnout. Given that the pandemic appears to be nowhere near over, it’s likely these negative trends will continue.

In addition to research on burnout and mental health in job reviews, Glassdoor's new study broke down the industries where workers left the highest work-life balance ratings. Researchers looked at companies that had at least 75 reviews during the pandemic, and found nearly half of the top 20 workplaces for work-life balances were tech companies.

Some jobs in real estate, finance and insurance also made the top 20. (The highest rated employers were Acuity Insurance and tech companies Digital Prospectors and Sprout Social.)

On the flip side, industries like health care, child care, retail and food service are seeing the biggest exodus of workers as of late. It’s no surprise that retail, food service, and recreation are some of the most poorly rated industries for work-life balance on Glassdoor.

More than 4 million U.S. workers quit their jobs in August, representing nearly 3% of the country’s entire workforce. For those taking part in the Great Resignation, mental well-being is clearly top of mind.

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