Stressed? You might be out of work next year

Job insecurity has become a fact of life for today's managers, writes Roger Trapp
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Stress is almost taken for granted in today's workplace. As is demonstrated by last week's revelation that the condition is a key factor in the early departure of record numbers of London headteachers, it is everywhere.

The problem is that there is often very little relief from the symptoms when the sufferers return home from work. Indeed, strains at home and at work are often closely related.

According to a company involved in the increasingly common practice of introducing employee assistance programmes - basically, counselling services that provide workers with help in dealing with problems and difficulties associated with work - the biggest issue facing it is bad debts. While drug abuse appears to be a much less important matter than is commonly realised, money troubles afflict large numbers of people.

It is perhaps not so surprising then that the latest "quick reaction survey" from the Institute of Management reveals that 60 per cent of managers do not believe they will be financially better off by this time next year. In a related answer, two-thirds do not feel confident that their homes will have increased in value over the next 12 months.

These replies are, in turn, connected to the finding that a third of 465 managers of various levels of seniority are insecure in their jobs. And this is despite the discovery that 58 per cent of respondents feel confident that their organisation will secure more business in the next year.

In what may be evidence supporting the idea that a lack of control over your destiny rather than hard work per se causes stress, the survey carried out last week also reveals that job insecurity is especially high among junior and middle managers.

Roger Young, director-general of the Institute of Management, says: "Insecurity is a fact of life for Britain's middle and junior managers. Despite good levels of business confidence, this has not translated into feelings of personal security and wellbeing."