Photo collage showing a woman stressed at her desk thinking about work.
Image: © deagreez/

One-third of Irish workers are stressed ‘very often’, survey finds

3 Jul 2023

Irish employers’ investment in wellness initiatives increased since the pandemic but a lot of employees are saying they are not doing enough.

A survey that looked at the stress levels of Irish workers – and who they hold accountable for workplace wellbeing going awry – has found that the majority of employees have experienced stress at some point during the year.

While it may seem slightly normal or obvious that stress is a part of working life at times, Irish employers have been investing significant sums in employee wellbeing. That a survey of 2,000 Irish workers by recruitment firm Robert Walters found that 60pc of respondents have experienced some form of stress at some point this year may be unwelcome news.

Of those who said they had been stressed, 33pc said they felt this way ‘very often’, while 27pc said they felt stressed ‘somewhat often’, and 31pc identified stress as happening ‘sometimes.’ For the purposes of the survey, stress was measured as any form of reoccurring stress experienced more than three times for seven or more days at a time. Only 9pc of workers surveyed said they did not experience any stress at work this year.

As Robert Walters’ survey found, Irish employers have increased their investment in wellness initiatives by 20pc since the pandemic. However, it seems they are not getting a good ROI on their investment and workers are still unhappy. More than half (55pc) of professionals believe their employer is not doing enough to combat stress in the workplace.

“Irish employers spend an estimated €100-200 per employee on wellness initiatives and benefits every year – but our survey indicates they may only be applying a band-aid,” said Suzanne Feeney, country manager of Robert Walters Ireland.

“Employers must strike the balance between not breaking the bank or piling pressure onto managers to solve workplace stress, but still being proactive and listening to the needs of their employees,” she added.

In terms of the factors causing workers’ stress, job stability was the highest factor, affecting 45pc of respondents. Pressure from management, lack of a pay rise and increased workloads were also reasons listed.

Just 20pc of the workers surveyed think that it is the individual’s responsibility to manage workplace stress, while 45pc said it was the responsibility of HR and senior leaders to do so. A smaller percentage (34pc) said it was down to the line managers to look after stress concerns.

According to Feeney, “Workplace stress is something everyone in a business has a hand in creating – however, it is down to senior leaders and HR to set the tone for how it is handled.”

“Simple interventions such as making sure workloads are manageable, setting realistic deadlines and making sure employees have access to support, safe spaces and relevant resources, can all help to alleviate pressure in the workplace as well as professionals’ day-to-day work life.”

Last year, a survey by Gallup and Workhuman found that Ireland was one of the worst performing countries in Europe when it came to employee stress and burnout.

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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