Employees at risk of burn-out

Yesterday I was talking about how a growing number of employers are biding their time and waiting for the ideal candidate to show up at their door before making a hire. Today the findings of a new survey suggest that employees are working harder that they did pre-recession to help get their organisations through these testing times. But there are obvious consequences of this.

The survey conducted by the Hay Group management consultancy found that 65% of UK workers are working unpaid overtime while 30% of all workers report that their organisation is a worse place to work than it was a year ago. And a further 36% claim they are ‘unhappy’ in their work. What these figures illustrate is the perilous state in which we now find ourselves.

Let me explain what I mean.

Firstly, it is widely accepted that the UK works longer than most of our European counterparts, that’s pretty much a given. And our long hours working culture has given rise to an unacceptably high volume of reported work-related stress cases every year. Indeed, in 2008 the CIPD’s absence management survey found that just under a third of organisations surveyed reported an increase in work-related stress compared with the previous year – the equivalent of 1 in 5 (or 5 million) of all UK workers. My guess is that this figure will be even higher for 2009.

Secondly, the skeptic in me suggests that employee loyalty may largely be governed by necessity and fear of losing one’s job rather than out of any genuine devotion to the company. If recession has taught us anything it is that no one person’s job is any more secure than another’s.

If employees continue working excessive hours in order to manage the demands of their organisation then the levels of staff burn out will inevitably rise. And what will happen when the recession ends, will employees remain ‘loyal’ to their employers who expected so much of them or will they consider jumping ship and swim the calmer waters to career nirvana? Time will tell.

About yourcareermatters
CareerMatters was founded as part of MacKenzie-Cummins Communications in 2006 by Paul MacKenzie-Cummins MICG (Member Institute of Careers Guidance), regarded as one of the UK's leading career's advice and guidance writers and specialist PR consultant for the UK recruitment industry. Since 2006 Paul has been the leading advice writer for Monster.com and CareerBuilder.com - the two biggest careers website in the world -tackling all aspects of workplace and management issues, job seeking, career change and hiring trends. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 his writing contributed to Monster winning the Best Employment Advice on the Internet Award for an unprecedented three times beating the likes of The Guardian, Learn Direct and Personnel Today on each occasion. And his work was a runner-up for the same award in 2009. In 2009 Paul was a nominee in the prestigious HR Journalist of the Year Award and Recruitment, Retention & Motivation Journalist of the Year Award. Paul has been commissioned to write more than 500 careers advice and guidance articles for a number of lpublications, from regional and national newspapers to industry publications and various career-specific websites in the UK and USA. Recently, Paul was the Technical Editor for career psychologist Dr Rob Yeung's Job Hunting & Career Change for Dummies (John Wiley & Son, 2007). Dr Yeung is better known as the TV psychologist for Channel 4's Big Brother and the BBC's Who Would Hire You? series. Clients include: Monster.com CareerBuilder.com MSN Careers (Europe) TheLadders TotalJobs SalesTarget.co.uk IntaPeople Recruitment Lifetracks/YouthNET MediaSalesJobs The Press Gazette

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