78% of UK CFOs report rising stress levels in finance

Finance workers in the UK are among the most stressed in the world, and very few expect the situation to change over the next two years, according to a study by Robert Half UK

The recruitment consultancy’s research found that 78% of UK CFOs see stress levels rising in the next two years, with over a third (31%) saying it would grow significantly. CFOs believe that increased workloads (51%), growing business expectations (49%) and a lack of staff (40%) will send stress levels soaring.

The study is based on more than 200 interviews with senior finance executives from companies across the UK and more than 1,800 respondents globally. Only the UAE (83%), Switzerland (81%) and Germany (79%) reported more CFOs anticipating rising stress levels.

Moreover, just 16% of UK respondents expect to see no change to workplace stress levels over the next couple of years, compared to 19% in Switzerland and 18% in Germany.

The research highlights a widespread failure to implement effective measures to combat stress in the workplace. Only a third (34%) of finance departments regularly discuss health and wellness, and 7% never talk about it at all. The remaining 59% discuss it occasionally.

While many businesses have policies and programmes for reducing workplace stress, these are by no means universal. According to the research, just over half (53%) allow flexible working. Other steps taken includes redesigning office space to facilitate efficient working (47%), implementing an employee wellness scheme (44%), or providing regular opportunities for employees to give feedback to management (39%).

Matt Weston, director at Robert Half UK, said: ‘In the run up to financial year-end, organisations need to remember that tired, stressed and unhappy employees make for an unproductive and less efficient workforce.

‘Businesses need to go above and beyond to meet high employee expectations around health and wellbeing, and finance is no exception.

‘This means rethinking working practices, establishing a dialogue with employees around their needs and planning ahead to bring in interim workers to help finance cope with busy periods and remove some of the pressure.’

Report by Pat Sweet

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