Employees are most like to 'pull a sickie' doing these jobs

This year's National Sickie Day falls on February 3, with researchers predicting it will cost employers £34million in total.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 11:04 am
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 11:06 am

There was an estimated 350,000 absences* from work on the first Monday of February last year, indicating this is when employees are most likely to call in sick, leaving employers unsure whether they are telling the truth or not.

Savoy Stewart wanted to determine which sector is most likely to pull a sickie. They surveyed 2,160 employees from different sectors to discover the most common excuses and why they lied.

Which sectors are likely to ‘pull a sickie’, from most to least:

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Does your job appear on the list of most likely to pull a sickie? (Shutterstock.com/Dmytro Zinkevych)

1. Retail

2. Leisure, sport and tourism

4. Marketing, advertising and PR

5. Sales

6. Charity and voluntary work

7. Information technology

8. Media and internet

9. Law enforcement and security

10.Property and construction

11.Hospitality and events management

12.Energy and utilities

13.Business, consulting and management

14.Creative arts and design

15.Public services and administrations

16.Accountancy, banking and finance

17.Environment and agriculture


19.Engineering and manufacturing

20.Science and pharmaceuticals

21.Transport and logistics

22.Social care


24.Teacher training and education

Most Likely:

Savoy Stewart’s research discovered that employees in the retail sector are most likely to ‘pull sickies’, and their ‘favourite’ excuses were migraines and vomiting. Out of every retail worker surveyed, 76% had faked being sick, whilst 33% admitted to doing so more than once.

People within the leisure, sport and tourism sector were found to be the second most likely to pull a sickie. 68% of employees in this sector admit to faking an illness to avoid work once and 42% admit to doing it more than once.

Employees within recruitment and HR were found to be among those most likely to lie about being sick to avoid work. 63% reveal that they have faked an illness in their current job and 32% have done so more than once.

Least Likely:

Opposingly, Savoy Stewart can reveal that employees working in teacher training and education are the least likely to pull sickies, ranking them at the bottom of the table with only 24% admitting to lying about why they needed a day off!

Workers in science and pharmaceuticals, transport and logistics, social care and healthcare were also among the sectors least likely to ‘pull a sickie’.

The top reasons employees lie:

1. Needed a mental health day (20%)

2. Hungover (18.57%)

3. Couldn’t be bothered (15.71%)

4. Too tired (15%)

5. Busy/have other plans (14.29%)

The most common reason employees felt the need to lie was due to needing a mental health day (20%), and research shows that these workers most frequently paired this with the excuse of vomiting.

One of the participants surveyed, who works in retail, stated that the reason they needed to lie was because they “don’t feel like it will be accepted as a legitimate reason by the manager”.

According to the results, these are the most popular excuses employees use:

1. Food Poisoning (26.76%)

2. Vomiting (18.31%)

3. Flu (12.68%)

4. Migraine (9.86%)

5. Diarrhea (7.04%)

Food poisoning was discovered to be the most popular excuse used by employees, with 26.76% admitting to using this to get out of work. Vomiting was found to be the second most frequently used excuse, with 18.31% of employees admitting to this.

*Data from Awareness Days