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(Over)Work Is Negatively Affecting the Mental Health of UK’s Middle Managers


While job satisfaction isn’t an issue in the United Kingdom, work is taking its toll on mental health.

Nearly two-thirds of workers (64%) of respondents to CIPD’s “UK Working Lives” survey said they are content in their jobs, but 28% of those working in middle management said their work is having a negative effect on their mental health. Another 35% said they have too much work to do.

Employees who are further down the chain reported suffering from a lack of skills training and development opportunities. Among workers in low-skilled and casual work, more than a third (37%) have not received any training in the last 12 months, while two in five (43%) said they do not believe their job offers them good opportunities to develop their skills.

The survey found that those at the top of the workforce, in senior manager roles, are the most satisfied with their job and feel less pressured than middle managers. The primary drawback in these jobs is work-life balance, with more than a quarter of senior leaders (28%) saying that they find it difficult to fulfil personal commitments because of their job. However, this group does have the greatest access to flexible working, with 60% of these workers having the option of working from home in normal working hours. Organizations also must recognize that stress in the workplace typically flows down the business, CIPD reported. Managing stress and better work-life balance from the top down is vital to healthy organizations and a culture of good work.

“The government has been clear that it wants to improve job quality in the UK, but in order to create quality jobs you have to be able to know one when you see one,” said Peter Cheese, chief executive of CIPD. “We have a record number of people in work, but we have to make sure that we have quality as well as quantity, and that means making sure every job is a good job. That is why we have undertaken the first comprehensive measure to help understand and clearly map job quality in the UK.”

Other findings of the survey include:

  • Almost half of the surveyed workers (45%) said they think that their pay is “appropriate” for what they do; 36% do not.
  • Work is important; 59% said they would work even if they didn’t need the money.
  • 80% of employees rated their relationship with their managers positively.
  • Nearly two thirds (63%) said they would like to reduce their hours.

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