A tenth of women experience ‘unmanageable’ stress


One in 10 female employees in the UK are finding their stress “unmanageable”, with heavy workloads and financial worries among their top concerns.

According to workplace health benefits provider Cigna, pressures at work and at home are leading to female employees feeling more stressed than their male colleagues. Seventy-nine per cent said they felt stressed both at home and at work, compared with 66% of men.

Heavy workloads triggered stress for 17% of working women in the UK, followed by personal health (13%) and financial concerns (13%).

The results were collated as part of the global Cigna 360 Wellbeing Survey 2019 and showed that stress levels among working women were lower in the UK than the global average. Eighty-eight per cent of working women internationally were stressed compared with 85% of working men.

Phil Austin, Cigna Europe chief executive, said: “It’s evident from our research that women are finding it difficult in today’s society to balance work and life, resulting in higher levels of stress compared to men, so we’re calling on employers to take action.

“We believe that sustained and evidence-based improvements to wellness programmes will create a less stressed working environment, within which women will be happier and more productive.”

Financial security was a major issue: three-quarters of working women did not feel positive about their finances and 46% did not consider their salary to be satisfactory.

Only 27% of female staff claimed to be eating a balanced diet and 28% said they were exercising on a regular basis, compared with 38% and 36% of men respectively.

Cigna urged employers to consider offering wellness programmes that are tailored to the needs of their staff. Sixty-two per cent of women said their employer did not have a formal programme in place and 44% said senior management lacked commitment to providing workplace wellness support.

Lack of sleep could also be heightening the level of stress felt by women. Almost eight in 10 said they did not get enough sleep, versus 65% of men.

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