As professionals, we place expectations on ourselves and our co-workers on a daily basis. When we accept a new job or task, we agree to complete our work in a timely fashion, often with either a mandated or self-imposed deadline.
For some workers, these deadlines are challenges that they willingly accept and meet. Others, however, feel stressed by deadlines and find that these time limits negatively affect their mental state. According to a 2017 survey by CareerCast, of the more than 1,000 individuals surveyed, 71% said they were under regular stress at work and cited deadlines as the most common cause.
"Deadlines are not only a contributing factor to stress in the workplace, but they are a significant cause of it,” said Kyle Kensing, online content editor at CareerCast.
Though every job requires workers to perform certain tasks, expectations for those tasks vary from job to job. For job seekers who want a break from the deadlines that are so common in today's fast-paced world, a newly released study by CareerCast identified some of the top jobs for people looking to avoid deadline stress in the workplace. [Related: 3 Steps to Eliminate Workplace Stress]
Jobs ranked by stress
CareerCast officials scored jobs on several criteria, including the amount of stress a career generates due to the frequency and urgency of deadlines. To determine a job's ranking, officials said they examined "the overall work landscape [and measured] job quality through income, growth potential, environment and stress."
Of the careers ranked for their deadline stress, 52 were found to score much lower than most. Jobs like dietitian and massage therapist were named as some of the least stressful jobs in relation to deadline expectations. In fact, professionals in most of the lower-ranked positions work directly with consumers, patients and clients.
According to officials, the deadlines these professions regularly face differ, as they "focus on helping those they work with reach their goals." For them, making it to the finish line is important no matter how much time it takes to get there.
Another type of job that fits into the low-stress category is research-based jobs, where long-term findings matter more than instant results. As such, positions like biomedical engineer and conservationist are also among the least stressful jobs in relation to deadlines.
Conversely, the jobs that scored highest for deadline-related stress in 2019 included newspaper reporter, broadcaster and accountant. Airline pilot and air traffic controller also ranked significantly higher than most jobs in this category.
Less stress, more growth
Even though the jobs that CareerCast ranked lowest in stress are largely devoid of tight deadlines, some of them still offer competitive pay and have high growth outlook into 2026. These jobs also tend to have welcoming work environments. Officials said the following jobs would be perfect for anyone looking to avoid deadline stress.
For those looking to get into the healthcare industry without a lot of deadlines, a career as an audiologist could be a good suggestion, as it's one of the fastest-growing positions (21%) and has an average salary of $75,920.
Other healthcare careers that fit CareerCast's criteria include the following:
- Chiropractors, with a 12% growth outlook and $71,410 salary
- Dietitians, with a 15% growth outlook and $60,370 salary
- Physical therapists, with a 26% growth outlook and $87,930 salary
- Occupational therapists, with a 24% growth outlook and $84,270 annual salary