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Do workers with a recent history of burnout make different career choices?

work stress
Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

Previous research showed that clinical burnout complicates career resumption because employers are less inclined to hire or promote previously burned-out workers. Researchers Philippe Sterkens, Stijn Baert, Eline Moens, Joey Wuyts and Eva Derous now studied the opposite perspective: Do workers with a recent history of burnout make different career choices?

To answer this question, the interdisciplinary research team had a representative sample of Belgian workers participate in an experiment in which they evaluated fictitious job offers with varying characteristics. The results are published in the Journal of Population Economics.

From their experiment, we learn that workers with a recent history of clinical burnout were relatively more attracted to jobs in which there were more telecommuting and was provided regularly. Surprisingly, they also valued with training opportunities less than workers without a recent history of clinical burnout.

"From previous research we know that burnout can be explained by excessive work demands and too that can buffer these demands (such as appreciation in the workplace). Our recent analyses now indicate that job demands and resources are similarly important in explaining the made by individuals who experienced burnout.

"Specifically, feedback opportunities are perceived more strongly as a job resource by workers who recently experienced clinical burnout," says Philippe Sterkens, doctoral researcher in economics and psychology.

These findings are consistent with previous research among formerly burned-out workers showing that supervisor support is a crucial determinant of a successful return to work.

Policy perspectives

The researchers link the following policy advice to their study results.

"First, it appears that job crafting is a valuable instrument for workers with a history of burnout who are looking for sustainable re-employment. Arranging opportunities for feedback would be an example of a potent job crafting intervention," says Philippe Sterkens, doctoral researcher in economics and psychology.

"Second, following up on and encouraging the professional training of burned-out remains crucial because learning opportunities are positively related to mental health outcomes. All this, of course, within the constraints of recovery requirements."

More information: Philippe Sterkens et al, I won't make the same mistake again: burnout history and job preferences, Journal of Population Economics (2024). DOI: 10.1007/s00148-024-00980-6

Provided by Ghent University

Citation: Do workers with a recent history of burnout make different career choices? (2024, January 25) retrieved 18 June 2024 from https://phys.org/news/2024-01-workers-history-burnout-career-choices.html
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