Accounting and financial services employees, and those in the cleaning and domestic services sector, are the most stressed in the UK, according to research on behalf of insurance organisation Axa.
An online survey of 2,000 UK adults, conducted by Opinium in September 2018, revealed that 87% of workers in both sectors are stressed at least some of the time during a typical week. In addition, 12% of cleaning and domestic workers and 7% of accounting and financial services employees said they felt stressed all the time.
Employees in the training and education sector are the UK’s least stressed, according to the survey, with 29% of staff never or rarely stressed, followed by workers in the manufacturing sector (27%).
The survey also found that common causes of stress for UK employees included concerns about being contacted outside of working hours (65%), work-life balance (64%), current salary prospects (47%) and worries over redundancy (36%).
Two-fifths (41%) of respondents said they felt anxious due to stress, more than a third (36%) said they felt tense, and 29% reported feeling restless. More than a quarter (27%) said they were unable to get enough sleep because of stress, and the same percentage said the condition was leading to unhealthy eating. Just under a quarter (24%) said stress was causing a lack of interest in everyday activities.
Eugene Farrell, mental health lead at Axa PPP Healthcare, said: “This research shows that Britain’s workers are struggling to manage their levels of stress. Even in the least stressed sectors, such as training and education and manufacturing, the vast majority of staff are stressed at least some of the time during a typical week.”
According to the study, while some respondents comfort eat (21%), drink alcohol (19%) and smoke (8%) to relieve stress, others favour healthy pursuits such as exercise (28%) and gardening (12%).
Farrell said: “It is promising that many respondents are turning to healthy ways to manage stress. It is important that anyone struggling to cope seeks help, for example from their GP or from the helplines provided by mental health charities such as Mind, Rethink Mental Illness and the Samaritans. Those whose employer provides access to an employee assistance programme can speak in confidence to a qualified counsellor or therapist, too.”