Fewer workers under severe pressure of time

15/11/2005 14:00

In 2004 over a quarter of the employed labour force were regularly working under severe time pressure. Over the past five years a downward trend was recorded. The proportion of employees who regularly had to work at a high pace (over 40 percent) has hardly changed in recent years. Severe work-related stress (high work pace as well as serious time pressure) declined over the last years and is most commonly found in the sectors hotels and restaurants and transport and communication.

Working under severe time pressure down by one fifth

The share of workers reporting they have to work under severe time pressure was 27 percent in 2004. This is below the level of the 1990s, when the economy was booming and when 33 percent of workers reported to work regularly under tight time restrictions.

In the period 1997-2004 over 40 percent of the employed labour force regularly had to work at a high pace. 

Working under serious pressure of time and at a high pace

Working under serious pressure of time and at a high pace

Work-related stress most acute between 30 and 50

More than one quarter of the employed labour population regularly have to deal with severe work-related stress (serious time pressure and high work pace). For both men and women work-related stress is linked to age. Work-related stress increases steadily from the moment the professional career is started up and subsequently rises to a level which is sustained between the ages of 30 and 50. Almost one third of employed in the age category 30-50 had to cope with severe work-related stress in 2004. After the age of 50, work-related stress subsides.

Serious work-related stress by gender and age, 2002/2004

Serious work-related stress by gender and age, 2002/2004

More women between 20 and 30 have to cope with stressful working conditions

From the age of thirty, more men than women report to suffer from severe work-related stress. Relatively speaking, more women than men in the 20-29 age bracket are faced with stressful working conditions. Around the age of thirty, when women become first-time mothers, many of them switch to part-time jobs. Part-time workers less often report stressful working conditions than full-timers.

Highly stressful working conditions in sector hotels and restaurants

The level of work-related stress is distinctly below average in the sectors agriculture and trade. Fewer than two in ten workers in these sectors report to suffer from severe stress levels due to working conditions. High levels of work-related stress are relatively common in the sectors hotels and restaurants, transport and communication and financial and business services. Over three in ten workers in these sectors had to cope with stress caused by working conditions.

Serious work-related stress by sector, 2002/2004

Serious work-related stress by sector, 2002/2004

Frans Frenken