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Employee Exhaustion: The Hartford Survey Finds Widening Gap In Burnout Rates Of Women And Men; Burned-Out U.S. Workers More Likely To Seek New Jobs

September 13, 2021
  • As burnout levels for U.S. workers remain high, Americans want their employers to provide additional time off and flexibility
  • More than one-third of U.S. workers are likely to search for a job in the next six months

New research from The Hartford, a leading provider of employee benefits and absence management, found a widening gap between men and women in workplace burnout rates, as the overall exhaustion level remains at 61% – the same high level reported in February. Burned-out U.S. workers were also more likely to look for a new job, the national survey showed.

“This high level of burnout and growing gap for women should be cause for alarm for business leaders,” said Jonathan Bennett, head of Employee Benefits at The Hartford. “The need for flexibility in the workplace has never been greater as the lines between work and home continue to be blurred amid the pandemic. Fostering an open, inclusive work environment that provides flexibility is an important step in addressing burnout and helping employees remain productive at work.”

The Hartford’s July 2021 Future of Benefits Pulse Survey found 68% of female U.S. workers now report experiencing burnout at work, compared to 52% of male workers – a 16-percentage point difference. This marks a significant increase in the difference between genders compared to The Hartford’s February survey, when there was a nine-point gap in workplace burnout rates between women and men (66% vs. 57%, respectively). Recent research found working mothers have been grappling with a “double shift” of household responsibilities, mental health challenges, and a more difficult remote-work experience.

The Hartford’s latest survey showed the more burnout employees are experiencing, the more likely they are to look for a new job. Of the workers who say they are “extremely likely” to look for a new job in the next six months, 55% say they “always feel burned out” and 16% say they “often feel burned out.”

The July survey also found 37% of U.S. workers are likely to search for a job in the next six months. The top three factors motivating the job search included:

  • Better salary or wages: 74%
  • Career growth/promotion: 44%
  • Tie between better benefits through their employer: 38%; more flexible schedule: 38%; better workplace culture: 38%

For the 63% of employees who don’t plan to search for a job in the next six months, the top three factors keeping them on the job included:

  • Salary or wages: 66%
  • Benefits through their employer: 58%
  • Flexible schedule: 43%

“The pandemic has changed the workplace – including the hiring landscape – and once again elevating employee benefits and a flexible work culture as critical elements to attracting and retaining talent. I encourage employers to take a fresh look at their benefit plans to ensure they remain competitive,” Bennett said.

To help address workplace burnout, U.S. workers surveyed said they want their employers offer the following:

  • Additional paid time off: 22%
  • Condensed four-day work week: 22%
  • Schedule flexibility: 17%
  • Remote work options: 13%
  • Company-wide mental health days: 13%
  • Lighter workload: 12%

The Hartford’s claims data demonstrates untreated mental health and substance use disorders can lead to unplanned absences and prolonged disability. Mental health conditions are among the top five reasons for U.S. workers to file a short-term disability claim, according to The Hartford’s disability claims data (excluding pregnancy).1 The Hartford partners with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to help employers and employees reduce stigma in the workplace and encourage those with mental health conditions to seek support.


A national omnibus online survey was conducted in the U.S. among approximately 2,000 adults aged 18+, including 966 full-time and part-time employed respondents. The research was conducted July 27-30, 2021. The margin of error is +/- 3% at a 95% confidence level.

About The Hartford

The Hartford is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at Follow us on Twitter at @TheHartford_PR.

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries under the brand name, The Hartford, and is headquartered in Hartford, Connecticut. For additional details, please read The Hartford’s legal notice.


Some of the statements in this release may be considered forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution investors that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results may differ materially. Investors should consider the important risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ. These important risks and uncertainties include those discussed in our 2020 Annual Report on Form 10-K, subsequent Quarterly Reports on Forms 10-Q, and the other filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We assume no obligation to update this release, which speaks as of the date issued.

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1 Top five reasons for short-term claims for the last four years (2016-2020), excluding pregnancy, were musculoskeletal injury, cancers and other neoplasms, digestive conditions, and mental health conditions

Media Contact:
Michelle Symington

Source: The Hartford

Multimedia Files:

The Hartford's Future of Benefits Pulse Survey Infographic pdf
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