Stress Statistics

Some insightful knowledge

The estimated cases of work-related stress, both total and new cases, have remained broadly flat over the past decade.

The industries that reported the highest rates of total cases of work-related stress (three-year average) were human health and social work, education and public administration and defence.

The occupations that reported the highest rates of total cases of work-related stress (three-year average) were health professionals (in particular nurses), teaching and educational professionals, and caring personal services (in particular welfare and housing associate professionals).

The main work activities attributed by respondents as causing their work-related stress, or making it worse, was work pressure, lack of managerial support and work-related violence and bullying.

The latest estimates from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) show the total number of cases of stress in 2011/12 was 428,000 (40%) out of a total of 1,073,000 for all work-related illnesses.

Large size workplaces were estimated to have significantly higher days lost per worker than both medium and small size workplaces in 2011/12.

Of the three workplace sizes, only the medium size has a statistically significantly lower rate in 2011/12 when compared to the figures in 2003/04.

The average annual working days lost officially certified as due to mental ill health under THOR GP between 2008 and 2010 is 6.2 million.

This represented 57% of the total of all reported days of sickness under THOR.

Whilst the figure recorded under THOR is lower than the estimates provided by the LFS it represents only the official diagnosis by those medical practitioners involved in the THOR scheme.

The GP reporting network (THOR) which collects information on work related diseases from general practitioners across GB ask patients diagnosed with work-related stress to identify the precipitating event that led them to that position.

This scheme identified the three principle reasons for patients presenting with work related stress as:

  1. Factors intrinsic to the job including work pressure and lack of managerial support
  2. Changes at work, including reduction in staff and changes to work responsibility
  3. Interpersonal relationships at work including, bullying and difficulties with managers.
Work-related stress caused workers in Great Britain to lose 10.4 million working days in 2011/12 based on the LFS data.
Male workers accounted for an estimated 4.6 million days off work whilst female workers accounted for an estimated 5.8 million.

This represents a decrease in annual working days lost since 2001/02, when it was 12.9 million days in total. On average, each person suffering from this condition took 24 days off work. This is one of the highest average days lost per case figure amongst the recognised health complaints covered in the LFS (see:

The LFS estimated that the main work activities causing work-related stress, or making it worse (averaged over 2009/10-2011/12) were;

  1. Workload (incl. tight deadlines, too much work, pressure or responsibility) with an estimated prevalence of 186 000 cases;
  2. Lack of managerial support with an estimated prevalence of 61 000 cases; and
  3. Violence, threats and bullying with an estimated prevalence of 54 000 cases.

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