Stressed-WorkAccording to a new study, employees in Britain are feeling more insecure and stressed at work than at any time in the past 20 years.

The 2012 Skills and Employment Survey, which was conducted by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), revealed that public sector workers feel less secure than those in the private sector and are increasingly worried about a loss of status and unfair treatment at work.

It stated:

“The major change that occurred between 2006 and 2012 was that for the first time public sector employees were quite clearly more concerned about losing their employment than those in the private sector.”

The research, undertaken every six years, also suggested that people in workplaces that had downsized were the most likely to have these fears.

Based on face to face interviews with 3,000 workers aged 20-60, the findings revealed that half of employees in the UK are concerned about a loss in their jobs status, while the greatest concern was around pay reductions.

According to the study, the speed of work and pressures of working to tight deadlines has risen to record highs, which in turn has led to job stress escalating and job related well-being decreasing in the past six years.

The study was launched today (20 May 2013) at the Institute of Education (IoE) in London, and commenting on the findings, Francis Green, Professor of work and education economics at the IoE, said:

“Since the start of the recession, the growth of fear not only of employment loss but of unfair treatment and loss of status was particularly strong in the public sector. Attention should be paid to the deteriorating climate of employee relations in this area.”

In response to the survey, CIPD Chief Executive, Peter Cheese, said that the findings were worrying for businesses and for the wider economy.

He stated:

“The decline in job satisfaction and employee engagement revealed by the Government’s Skills and Employment Survey makes for worrying reading for businesses, the economy and wider society.”

Cheese added:

“Too many recent and spectacular failures – from the banking crisis to public sector scandals like that affecting the Mid Staffordshire NHS Trust – are almost entirely born of problems of culture.

“Although profoundly different in many ways, they have common roots in issues of trust, empowerment and engagement. What’s good for people is good for business – and if we can embrace that truth to build cultures in which people want to work and are unified by a common purpose, we can not only prevent catastrophes, we can truly build more sustainable economic growth.”