Are you worried about the future more today than ever before? Or are you very concerned about your job, or feeling distress due to additional responsibilities-more work for the same pay? You are not alone.
But more importantly, what are you doing- to manage your distress?
It looks as though stress is taking over America’s health, as up to 90 percent of the doctor visits in the United States may be caused by a stress-related illness.
A survey conducted earlier this year by the American Psychological Association found that employees feel undervalued and stressed out at work and many are dissatisfied with aspects of their job. The online survey found that 36 percent of workers reported experiencing work stress regularly and almost half (49 percent) said low salary has a significant impact on their stress level at work.
Money may be on workers’ minds, but that isn’t the only reason the American workforce is unhappy. Employees also cited lack of opportunities for growth and advancement (43 percent), heavy workload (43 percent), unrealistic job expectations (40 percent) and long hours (39 percent) as significant sources of stress.
Also, less than half of employees (43 percent) said they receive adequate non-monetary rewards and recognition for their contributions at work and only 57 percent reported being satisfied with their employer’s work-life practices. Just 52 percent of employees said they feel valued on the job, only two thirds reported being motivated to do their best at work and almost a third (32 percent) indicated that they intend to seek employment elsewhere within the next year.
These employers reported an average turnover rate of just 11 percent in 2010 — significantly less than the national average of 38 percent as estimated by the U.S. Department of Labor. Surveys completed by the winning organizations show that only 18 percent of employees reported experiencing chronic work stress compared to 36 percent nationally, and 87 percent of employees reported being satisfied with their job vs. 69 percent in the general population. Additionally, only 6 percent said they intend to seek employment elsewhere within the next year, compared to 32 percent nationally.
Women Have More Stress
Another survey, conducted earlier this year in the U.S. determined that approximately 30 percent of women have high levels of anxiety about their finances, compared with 17 percent of men, Similar surveys conducted in other Western countries had similar findings.
The results were gleaned, from a questionnaire filled out by more than 1,000 people in the first quarter this year, also showed that 9 percent of women reported “overwhelming financial stress,” compared with 3 percent of men.
That may be because of women’s greater sense of obligation to children and the home, said Gregory Ward, head research analyst at El Segundo, California- based Financial Finesse Inc., which conducted the survey.
“Certainly a part of it is the psychology of how men and women view things,” Ward said.
Of the 438 women surveyed, 28 percent said they had “high” or “overwhelming” financial stress, and 62 percent reported “some,” according to Financial Finesse, which sells financial literacy services to companies, municipalities and credit unions. Among the 618 men, 66 percent acknowledged “some” unease and 17 percent “high” or “overwhelming” levels.
The gap may be because men view the state of their financial affairs differently, Ward said. “Maybe they’re more confident than they should be.”
Mary Gresham, a specialist in financial psychology noted, “Women feel more distressed than men do if they cannot provide what they want to provide for their children.”
Workers of both sexes between the ages of 30 and 44 were the most likely to worry about their finances, the study found. Those earning $35,000 to $74,999 a year — what Ward calls a “midrange economic level” — were particularly susceptible to concerns about money, he said.
Financial Finesse found that 14 percent of people characterized themselves as having no financial stress, compared with 3 percent in 2009 and 2010. Among those without worries, 97 percent said they were comfortable with their amount of debt; 89 percent reported having an emergency fund; and all said they paid their monthly bills on time.
“There is kind of a gender gap between feeling stressed about money and actually making behavioral changes,” she said. “In general, men tend to be more action-oriented.”