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Are You Feeling a Lot of Stress at Work?

Are You Feeling a Lot of Stress at Work?

If so, the new Employee Outlook Index Poll says you're not alone

by Dennis Jacobe

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- Many employees say they are feeling stress on their jobs these days, according to the most recent Employee Outlook Index Survey, a joint effort of UBS and The Gallup Organization. Few employees, however, attribute the added pressures they feel to a fear of being laid off. Instead, employees at for profit/private sector companies expressed a slightly greater degree of confidence in the outlook for their companies in September than in recent months.

Employees Feel Job Stress

Seven out of 10 employees say they feel a "great deal" (29%) or a "moderate amount" (42%) of stress in their jobs right now. Only one in 10 employees say they feel no stress at all on the job. This is equally the case for both male and female employees. And it is also essentially the same for employees of male and female bosses.

Job Stress Levels
September 2002

Blame It On the Job

About half of all employees say that the demands of the job itself cause them the most stress. Another one out of five employees say the people they work with are the sources of their stress. While only 10% of employees attribute it to their bosses, just 8% say their fear of being laid off causes them the most stress.

Causes of Job Stress
September 2002

Employee Outlook Index Increases Slightly

The Employee Outlook Index is now at 66 -- up from 58 in August, indicating a modest increase in employee confidence. The Index was at the same level (66) as the second quarter ended in June. The Employee Outlook Index increased along all three of its dimensions. The greatest increase, however, was along the job security dimension, which increased from 41 in August to 49 in September, and is now above its June level of 45. Although both the present company conditions and the future company conditions dimensions of the Index increased in September, neither exceeded their June levels.

2002 Gallup/UBS Employee Outlook Index

The Bottom Line

Given the current economic environment, it is not surprising that a lot of Americans working at for profit/private sector companies are feeling considerable stress on the job. Nor is it surprising that a lot of employees don't like the stress they are forced to deal with on a daily basis. In fact, an August Gallup Poll found that nearly a third of all U.S. workers (31%) are somewhat or completely dissatisfied with the amount of stress they have at work.

Still, if the economy remains weak, it is likely that the employees of many companies will face increasing job stress as organizations continue to cut costs and reduce employees to shore up the bottom line. If this scenario plays out, and organizations find that their cost-cutting policies also provoke anxiety, they will not only benefit their employees but also their bottom lines if they make an effort to limit or avoid the ills of high job stress.

Survey Methods

Results for the Sept. 5-8, 2002, and Sept. 23-26, 2002 surveys are based on telephone interviews with 576 adults who are employed with non-governmental, for-profit companies having five or more employees, aged 18 and older, conducted Sept. 5-8, 2002, and Sept. 23-26, 2002. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4%. Results for the August survey are based on telephone interviews with 584 adults, aged 18 and older, employed full or part time, conducted Aug. 5-8, 2002. For results based on the total sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4%.

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