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10th Feb 2017

70% of Northern Ireland’s workforce feel under pressure every week

Are you happy in your job?  A recent workplace survey by would suggest not, with 62% claiming they will consider moving jobs in 2017, and the general happiness of the local workforce scoring 5.8 out of 10.  One of the biggest stats to come from the survey was the pressure that the local workforce feel in their job, with 70% admitting to feeling under pressure every week. 

Some individuals thrive on pressure in the workplace, but too much pressure can lead to stress and impact on the productivity and morale of staff.  The survey also found that a staggering 87% of Northern Ireland workers feel under pressure at least once a month in their job, with only 10% claiming they never feel under pressure at work.

It is important to understand exactly what this means.  There can be a mixed understanding as to what pressure is, but it is defined as, ‘when someone feels that they are being forced to do something’.  This can indicate a lack of control over an employee’s ability to do their job, and control is one of the six areas described by the Health and Safety Executive as being a cause of workplace stress.  The HSE defines stress as being excessive pressure, and prolonged bouts of pressure can lead to stress and will negatively impact on everyone regardless of how strong they may be. 

The report also found that 13% of the local workforce faked a sick day in 2016, something that pressure, stress and general workplace happiness of our employees is no doubt contributing to. 

How can you deal with pressure in the workplace?

Organisations are beginning to see the need for change and are beginning to focus more on employee health and wellbeing, with Action Mental Health, one local organisation aiming to help NI organisations deal with the wellbeing of their staff.  Action Mental Health have a division that is solely dedicated to the workplace, with AMH Works has supporting several organisations locally.

However, organisations must do more to support the mental health and wellbeing of their staff to remove the stigma of mental health in the workplace.  Simple interventions can have the greatest impact.  Manager training is a key driver of change within organisations and if there is manager level buy-in, staff tend to be more receptive.  Mindful Manager and The Resilient Leader are two of AMH Works’ programmes which have been proven to effectively upskill managers and give them the confidence to pro-actively manage health and well-being.  This training also has the added benefit of counterbalancing the 47% of staff who would like more training in their jobs. 


Furthermore, for staff within the organisation, awareness days are an excellent tool for staff to gain a greater understanding of mental health and to start the conversation in the workplace.  Finally, a robust policy framework that shows support for staff and how they can avail of it are hugely influential in normalising mental health and gaining organisation wide support.

Gary Kane from AMH Works added:

“Employees are feeling more and more under pressure and this is represented by the fact that 70% of staff feel they are under pressure every week in work.  This is a sizable number and these individuals need help and support from their employer to enable them to make the changes they need for their own health and well-being. This can be done with the right training such as Mindful Manager and The Resilient Leader for organisations and Personal Resilience for individuals.” 

How can employers help?

Organisations and managers are a support for staff to enable them to do the things that improve and support their mental and physical health.  Personal Resilience and Stress Management programmes have been proven to have a beneficial impact on an employee’s ability to cope with the stresses of life and work. 

The Public Health Agency’s Take 5 initiative is also a key tool for individuals in giving them the help and support they need.  With 62% of people expressing a desire to look elsewhere for employment in 2017, and 60% saying they would move jobs due to a lack of opportunities, there is so much more for NI employers to do to keep staff happy, motivated and not feeling under pressure in their role. 

View the full NI Jobfinder 2016 NI Workplace Survey here.


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