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Why working women are more stressed than men

Phil Austin
Employee engagement

Pressures in the workplace and at home are leading to working women feeling more stressed than men (79 percent women vs 66 percent men), with 10 percent of women finding their stress ‘unmanageable’. Contributor Phil Austin, Chief Executive Officer – Cigna Europe

Heavy workloads (17 percent), personal health (13 percent) and financial concerns (13 percent) are the top stress triggers for working women in the UK, and 78 percent are not getting enough sleep (vs 65 percent of men). The annual Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey also unveils women feel unsupported in the workplace, with 62 percent stating their employer did not have a formal workplace wellness programme in place. 

Nearly half (44 percent) believe senior management lack commitment to providing workplace wellness support. Given the high levels of stress amongst working women and an appetite for tailored wellness programmes, the health service provider is calling for employers to take note. 

Phil Austin, Chief Executive Officer – Cigna Europe: “It’s evident from our research that women are finding it difficult in today’s society to balance work and life, resulting in higher levels of stress compared to men, so we’re calling on employers to take action. We believe that sustained and evidence-based improvements to wellness programmes will create a less stressed working environment, within which women will be happier and more productive.”  

The pressures women face at work and home is part of a wider social issue present in today‘s society and it’s significantly affecting their wellness. Only 27 percent are eating a balanced diet (vs 38 percent of men) and 28 percent are exercising on a regular basis (vs 36 percent of men). Men are sleeping more, have more regular exercise and eat healthier.

Three quarters (75 percent) of women do not feel positive about their finances (vs 62 percent of men) and almost half (46 percent) of the women surveyed do not believe they have a satisfactory salary (vs 56 percent of men). Only 17 percent have sufficient money for retirement (vs 34 percent of men) and of those with children, only 38 percent feel they are able to take care of their children’s current financial needs. Men are more confident about their finances, happier with their salary and feel more comfortably set for retirement.

Stress amongst working women is not unique to the UK. Our findings illustrate the global epidemic, with a staggering 88 percent of working women around the globe feeling stressed, and 13 percent per cent are suffering from unmanageable stress.

Austin concludes: “With data from this survey and other research projects, Cigna can help improve the health, well-being and peace of mind of the people we serve. We are focused on providing solutions and support across all dimensions of well-being and are proud to work with some of UK’s top employers to create a healthy and happy workforce.”

Now in its fifth year, the Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey examines people’s perceptions of well-being across five key pillars – physical, family, social, financial and work. This year’s survey finds that despite slightly better overall scores in the UK, women still fall behind when it comes to their well-being, displaying higher levels of stress and finding it challenging to maintain physical and financial health.

The results reveal that the overall UK Well-Being Index increased slightly from 59.7 in 2018 to 62.5 in 2019. This means that, after a fall in previous years, the Index is improving. The UK now sits above the global average (62.0) and ranks higher than European markets such as Benelux (59.1), France (61.6) and Germany (61.6).

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