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Levels of workplace stress on the rise among professionals

60 percent of higher-earners said they suffer from workplace-related stress.

A business centre in the heart of London. Image. — © Tim Sandle.
A business centre in the heart of London. Image. — © Tim Sandle.

Long work hours, heavy workloads, tight deadlines, unclear job expectations, job insecurity, and conflicts with colleagues or supervisors are all factors which contribute towards workplace stress.

A recent poll of employees suggests that 3 out of every 5 workers states that they have started suffering from workplace stress this year. In terms of these issues, over half of those polled expressed the view that their employers are simply not doing enough to alleviate the causes of stress. The data relates to employees based in the U.K.

Among those polled were professional workers. Here, 60 percent of higher-earners said they suffer from workplace-related stress. One the leading causes of stress is job security and the interaction between the employee and their line manager.

Despite U.K. employers spending millions on wellness initiatives every year – increasing their spend by 20 percent since the pandemic – 55 percent of professionals are of the view that their employer is not doing enough to combat stress in the workplace.

According to a poll of 2,000 people by the recruitment firm Robert Walters, when professional workers were asked how often they feel stressed, a third stated ‘very often’ (33 percent), with a further 27 percent stating ‘somewhat often’, and 31 percent identified stress as happening ‘sometimes.’

In contrast, only 9 percent of professional workers stated that they had not experienced any form of ‘reoccurring stress’ at work this year. Recurring stress is defined as stress-symptoms experienced more than three times for seven or more days at a time.

In addition to concerns over job stability, other triggers for stress were identified as more pressure from management, lack of a pay rise. and taking on a heftier workload over the course of 2023.

When asked whose responsibility it was to manage workplace stress, 45 prcent of professionals said it was down to Human Resources and senior leaders, followed by line managers (at 34 percent). A relatively low number, at 18 percent, said it was down to the individual to manage their own stress.

While responsibility was mostly directed at the employer, fewer than 20 percent of professionals feel employers are doing enough; whereas the majority (55 percent) stated that employers are simply not doing enough.

Chris Poole, Managing Director of Robert Walters explains in a statement sent to Digital Journal: “U.K. employers spend an estimated £100-200 per employee on wellness initiatives and benefits every year – but our survey indicates they may only be applying a band-aid.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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