Vice Squad
Friday, October 19, 2007
Dying to Work?

People in some professions tend to live longer than people in other professions. This might be because some jobs attract people with characteristics that also affect lifespan, or because the jobs (including pay and lifestyle) themselves might alter how long someone will live. A study to be released next week of 76 of the FTSE-100 firms -- the 100 largest firms listed on the London Stock Exchange -- indicates that people who work for tobacco and alcohol firms are among the shortest lived workers, according to this Financial Times article: "Among the bottom six firms – five... are tobacco and or drinks-related businesses."The firm in the study with the lowest worker life expectancy is Whitbread, which started as a brewery in 1742 but no longer makes its own beer and is more in the hotel/restaurant/coffee business now, though many of its restaurants are pub-style. According to the FT article, "Whitbread declined to comment, but insiders said they thought the shorter mortality could be attributable to the number of brewers and publicans the company used to employ." (I guess the short lifespan of publicans is supposed to be obvious?) Incidentally, a lower life expectancy for a firm, everything else equal, translates into smaller pension payments.

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