Pressure rises for recruiters at crunch time

Spare a thought for Britain’s hard-pressed recruitment consultants. According to a survey they are already the nation’s most stressed workers – and the credit crunch means that their hard times are far from over.

Lawyers and bankers are hardly better off – the legal profession and finance come second and fifth in the league table of the most stressed occupations.

This picture of Britain’s overwrought professional classes emerges from research conducted by The Stroke Association and Siemens, the engineering company.

Nor are the afflicted taking the measures they should to diminish their anxiety, according to the survey, which finds that stressed employees commonly resort to tactics that are at best ineffective, and at worst dangerous.

The most widespread reaction is getting angry – 47 per cent admit to doing so – followed by eating more, crying, drinking and smoking. Only 13 per cent of employees take exercise – the healthiest way of dealing with pressure, says the association.

A total of 82 per cent of recruitment consultants found their work stressful. This compared with a national average of 61 per cent of all employees. Recruiters jostle with more obvious contenders who also come significantly above average, including bankers. But some less obvious occupations also score highly for stress, including those of health worker and housewife.

Joe Korner, director of external affairs for The Stroke Association, said: “Stress clearly affects a great deal of the working population. Stress in itself is undesirable, and responding to it in the wrong ways, for instance by drinking excessive alcohol, over-eating or smoking, can all lead to high blood pressure, which is the single biggest risk factor for stroke.”

However, information technology workers take the most sensible approach, the report finds, as more than a quarter of them respond to stress by exercising.

The survey, conducted in June, polled 1,000 workers in a variety of occupations across the UK.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.