As China's economy has grown at an incredible rate over the past few years so apparently have stress levels among those who are helping make it all possible.

A survey released this week by the United States-based Regus Group - a corporate consultancy company - has revealed that almost 86 percent of Chinese respondents reported their stress levels had become "higher'' or "much higher'' since 2007.

The figure was far higher than any other country, with only Belgium (64.4 percent), Mexico (64.2 percent) and South Africa (63.3 percent) coming anywhere near close to China.

The company quizzed the employees of 11,000 companies from 11 countries over August and September in compiling its report and found overall that 58 percent of companies had experienced an increase in stress.

But in China things seem worse than anywhere else.

More than 40 percent of those who said they were now more stressed than ever put the blame down to an "increased focus on profitability," while 28 percent pointed the finger at pressure from customers for better service and 26 percent said they'd had enough of hearing about quarterly sales revenues.

A similar survey - this time by the US-based Horizon Research Group - said the greatest percentage of people they polled (34.2 percent) laid the blame for increased stress at the world's recent financial crisis.

That report claimed most of those who were finding the stress all too much worked for foreign-invested companies and were in the 24-30 age bracket.

The China Daily newspaper meanwhile claimed the long work hours required by mainland Chinese employers was to blame - but some were more circumspect.

"You either deal with the pressure or you quit,'' the paper quoted marketing strategy manager Sam Liu as saying. "It's up to you.''

Where in the world are people feeling more stress in the workplace?

China: 85.9 percent

Belgium: 64.4 percent

Mexico: 64.2 percent

South Africa: 63.3 percent

Spain: 58.2 percent

USA: 58.2 percent

India: 57.1 percent

France: 55.6 percent

Australia: 55.4 percent

Canada: 51.8 percent

*Figures supplied by Regus

MS

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