43% of public sector employees feel under excessive pressure at work


More than four in ten (43%) public sector employee respondents feel under excessive pressure at work at least once a week, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Halogen.

The Employee outlook report, which surveyed 2,091 UK employees, also found that 47% of respondents are not very or not at all confident to disclose unmanageable stress or mental health problems to their employer or manager.

The research also found:

  • 66% of public sector respondents are satisfied with their jobs, compared with 63% of respondents from across all sectors.
  • 36% of respondents believe their organisation supports employees with mental health problems either very or fairly well.
  • 46% of public sector respondents always or often come home from work exhausted, compared to 33% of respondents from across all sectors.
  • 75% of respondents say earning a sufficient wage to enjoy a reasonable lifestyle is an important aspect of financial wellbeing, 55% cite the ability to save for the future, and 54% feel reward for their efforts delivered in a fair and consistent manner is important.
  • 29% of respondents believe that work makes them feel cheerful most or all of the time, followed by feeling optimistic (20%), stressed (17%), and relaxed (17%).
  • 38% of respondents feel under excessive pressure at work at least once a week.

Claire McCartney (pictured), associate research adviser at the CIPD, said: “It’s fantastic to see such a leap in job satisfaction in the public sector, especially in such uncertain times for the UK. There was a great deal of uncertainty before the referendum, so people might be feeling more settled. Other reasons could include the optimism that usually comes with a new government, and it could be that some of the new messages we’re hearing on fairness and equality might be resonating with public sector [employees].

Sign up to our newsletters

Receive news and guidance on a range of HR issues direct to your inbox

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

“Despite this positive outlook, the fact remains that employees in this sector are most likely to suffer with excessive pressure at work and exhaustion. This shouldn’t be overlooked, as it can create real problems for employers and individuals. It’s crucial that employers address these issues before [employees] burn out and satisfaction levels take a nose dive.”

Dominique Jones, chief people officer at Halogen, added: “To compete against rapidly changing market forces, organisations need to hire smarter, develop faster, and build a compelling and meaningful work experience for employees. They must start with a talent strategy aligned to the needs of both the organisation and its people. This approach will ensure that whatever context the labour market finds itself in, organisations are ready to attract, engage and retain skilled people, motivated to deliver results.”