Stress Facts

Stress Facts for Organizations to Consider

These facts are in flux at all times. Many don't factor in a post-9/11 world and the periodic booms and busts that come and go with increasing regularity. It may be fairly assumed that stress factors are getting worse rather than better in the modern workplace.   

The cost of work time lost to stress in Canada is $12 billion
  • From 1992 to 1998, the proportion of Canadian women who felt "severe stress" rose 23%, while for men it climbed 25%
  • Stress as a reason for absence has increased 316 percent since 1995
  • Statistics Canada

    • A 2003 survey on work-life conflict, which surveyed more than 31,000 workers, found more than half felt stressed, one-third felt burned out or depressed, one-quarter thought of quitting their jobs at least once a week or more, and one in 10 reported high absenteeism due to emotional, physical or mental fatigue. The direct cost of absenteeism totals $4.5 billion each year.
    Statistics Canada

    • Job stress is estimated to cost American Industry $300 billion a year, more than the net profits of all the Fortune 500 companies combined and ten times the costs for all strikes
    • 40% of job turnover is due to job stress
    • 60% to 80% of on-the-job accidents are stress-related
    • 75% to 90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related complaints or conditions
    • Health care expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high stress levels
    The American Institute of Stress

    • Stress has overtaken traditional workplace illnesses and injuries to become the biggest cause of sickness absence in Britain. Stress, and common stress-related complaints such as depression and anxiety, accounted for 36% of days lost through workplace injury and ill-health in 2004/05.
    Health and Safety Executive,
    Quoted in the Financial Times, January 18, 2004

    • The direct cost of absence due to stress for companies with 100,000 employees is annually estimated to be from $10-12 million for the retail sector, to $18-25 million for the transportation and communications sector. This includes cost of absence, replacement costs and lost production. However, if indirect costs such as reduced customer satisfaction and lower productivity are included, these costs would escalate substantially.
    "Less Stress, More Value"
    Henderson Global Investors 2005 Survey of Leading UK Employers

    • 47% of employed Canadians reported "a great deal of stress at work"
    Ipsos-Reid Survey 2000

    • Nearly 10% of the gross national product of the UK is lost due to work-related stress, through sickness absence, high labour turnover, lost productivity value, increased recruitment and selection costs, and medical costs.
    Stress and Mental Health in the Workplace
    Mind, May 2005

    • Stress claims rose 30% between 1996 and 1998
    • Most companies spend 2% to 3% of their payroll on short-term disability claims, half of which might be stress-related.
    Watson Wyatt  
    •  5% of white-collar workers and 40% of blue-collar workers in Canada have had a stress-related absence in the past year
    Homewood Health Centre, Guelph, Ontario

    • Work hours increased 8% in one generation and averages 47 hours per week. One worker in 5 works 49 hours per week
    • Workers fearful of losing their jobs more than doubled over the past decade
    National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health/
    National Institute of Health/99

    • 26% of employees report that they are "often" or "very often" burned out or severely stressed at their work
    The Families and Work Institute

    • 29% of workers complain that they are "quite a bit" or "extremely stressed" at work
    Yale University

    • Three-quarters of employees believe that workers have much more on-the-job stress than a generation ago
    Princeton Survey Research Associates

    • 80% of workers feel stress on-the-job
    • Nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress
    • 14% felt like striking a co-worker in the past year but didn't
    Gallop Poll, 2001

    • 65% of workers said that workplace stress had caused them difficulties and 10% described these as "major"
    • Nearly one in four reported being driven to tears because of workplace stress
    • Half of all workers frequently skip lunch because of the stress of job demands
    • Over 50% say they often spend 12 hours a day on work-related duties
    • One in five have quit a previous position because of job stress
    • 62% routinely end the day with work-related neck pain
    • 34% reported sleeping problems because they were too stressed out
    2000 Integra Realty Resources Survey

    • The number of people absent from work due to stress tripled since 1995
    CCH Unscheduled Absence Survey
    of 800,000 Workers in 300 Co's, 1999

    • Over 50% of the 550 million working days lost each year in the USA because of absenteeism are due to stress
    The European Agency for Safety and Health at Work

    • 20% of the direct costs associated with high turnover, strikes, work stoppages and absenteeism were due to stress
    1996 Marketdata Enterprises Survey

    Employees under sustained stress are more likely to suffer:

    • 3 x more heart problems, back problems
    • 5 x more of certain cancers
    • 2-3 x more conflicts, mental health problems, infections, injuries
    • 2 x more substance abuse
    Health Canada Website

    • It is estimated that 10% of working Canadians, about 1.4 million people, suffer from depression, which is often caused by stress.
    The Business and Economic Roundtable
    on Mental Health

    • Mental health claims are the fastest growing category of disability costs in Canada
    Manulife Financial Group

    • Emotional distress and mental illness account for 20-30% of all employee absenteeism and industrial accidents, and mental or emotional problems at work exceeded physical causes as the primary reason for worker absenteeism for the first time ever in 1998.
    The Canadian Mental Health Association 
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