Employee Engagement

New research from life insurance and pension provider Friends Life reveals that one in six (16%) UK employees, almost 5 million workers called in sick due to stress in the past year, costing employers over £460m2 in wasted wages per day. Young people are more likely to feel the pressure, with almost a quarter (24%) of 18-24 year olds called in sick due to stress in the past year.

The study, carried out by OnePoll on behalf of Friends Life in October has been released today to mark National Stress Awareness Day. It finds that 18 to 24-year-olds have a greater fear of redundancy (36%) than they do of a life-changing injury. Worries around job security are a concern for this age group, at 52%. Other concerns among 18-24 year olds are money (35%) and work (22%). When compared to last year, money concerns have gone down by 2% in this age group and about work by 1%.


The figures also exposed a gender gap in the drivers for stress, with 31% of males saying work causes them the most stress, followed by money, at 28%. Interestingly, the pattern was the opposite for women; more stated that money was the main cause of their stress (34%) than work (23%).


David Williams, Director of Group Protection at Friends Life, comments: Despite green shoots of recovery in the economy, it’s clear from our research that many workers continue to live under a serious burden of stress, particularly those under the age of 25. UK economic output is improving but this is not having as positive an effect on UK workers’ stress levels as we would have hoped.

“Employers can provide valuable services for their employees that can help prevent and manage stress. It is important that employers spot the signs of stress early to ensure that appropriate action can be taken to help employees feeling pressurised. This can positively affect employee wellbeing, engagement as well as business productivity.”

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