Britain’s employees feel more stressed at work

Britain’s employees are feeling more insecure and pressured at work than at any other time in the past 20 years, according to research by the Institute of Education (IOE) and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

The 2012 Skills and employment survey (SES), based on face-to-face interviews with 3,000 employees aged 20 to 60, revealed that public sector employees no longer feel more secure than those in the private sector. 

The reports also found that:

  • In 2012, more than half (51%) of employees were concerned about job status loss. The biggest concern was about reduction in pay, followed by loss of say over their job.
  • People are working harder. ‘Work intensification’, which was previously rife in the early 1990s, has resumed since 2006. Both the speed of work and pressures of working to tight deadlines have risen to record highs. Technological change is a key factor, but contrary to common belief, work intensification is not associated with downsizing.
  • Job stress has gone up and job-related wellbeing has gone down since 2006.

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Francis Green, professor of work and education economics at the IOE, said: “Since the start of the recession, the growth of fear not only of employment loss but of unfair treatment and loss of status was particularly strong in the public sector.

“Attention should be paid to the deteriorating climate of employee relations in this area.”