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Professionals report increased work stress, and 76% cite negative impact on personal relationships: Korn Ferry

November 09, 2018

Professionals report stress at work is increasing, according to a survey released by executive search firm Korn Ferry International Inc. (NYSE: KFY). Nearly two-thirds of respondents, 65%, said their level of stress at work today is higher compared to five years ago.

Seventy-six percent of respondents said work has had a negative effect on their personal relationships and 66% said they have lost sleep due to work stressors. In addition, 16% reported they have had to quit a job due to stress.

The survey also points to stress triggers. The largest percentage of respondents, 35%, cited their boss as their biggest stressor at work, and 80% said a change in organizational leadership — e.g. new boss or division head — has affected their stress level.

The survey asked, “Compared to five years ago, what is the stress level in your workplace?” Responses include:

  • Much higher: 26%
  • Somewhat higher: 39%
  • Somewhat lower: 24%
  • Much lower: 10%

The survey also found that a heavy workload is less stressful than looking for something to do. More than three-quarters of respondents, 79%, said not having enough work is more stressful than having too much work.

Survey participants were also asked, “If you had to pick one, what would you say is the biggest stressor at work?” Responses include:

  • Your boss: 35%
  • Your coworkers: 14%
  • Too much work: 12%
  • Low salary: 19%
  • Long commute: 20%

“There are many factors that cause increased stress levels at work, including keeping up with changes in technology, increased workloads and interpersonal conflict,” said Dennis Baltzley, Korn Ferry senior partner and global head of leadership development solutions. “Obviously the capacity to deal with stress will vary from individual to individual, but organizations can take steps to help mitigate stress, such as offering training on new technologies and development for managers on how best to lead.”

The survey included 1,951 responses from professionals and took place in October 2018.

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