Is recruitment consulting the most stressful job in the world?

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According to a study by the unlikely combination of Siemens and The Stroke Association, people who work in recruitment are particularly stressed - more so than lawyers, teachers, marketing professionals and bankers.

The study doesn't explain the precise source of recruiters' angst but, according to the recruiters we spoke to, it's partly attributable to the pay structure.

"This is a sales job," says one. "You're working on commission so it's bound to be stressful."

"It's no more stressful than being a trader," says the head of another recruitment firm dismissively. "There's stress with any well-remunerated City job."

Phillip Hodson, a counsellor known for his work with disconsolate white-collar workers, doesn't have too many recruitment consultants on his books, but says some of his best friends are recruiters: "Recruitment isn't like selling a joint of lamb or two pounds of apples - you have to manage people, who are inherently unpredictable. It can be very hard to meet someone's expectations of the perfect job."

But rather than recruitment consultants, Hodson says it's bankers who are currently queuing up for psychological modification.

"The whole world of investment banking and financial services is an emotional mess," he muses. "Enquiries from bankers are up around 10% on last year. People are increasingly exploring the notion of getting out of the industry, but if you're a 40-year-old investment banker on a six-figure package, switching to become a primary school teacher on 26k a year is a hard move to make."