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UK workers believe that middle management and junior level staff are under more pressure than CEOs and senior executives, a new study has found.A survey of more than 1,500 UK employees, conducted by OnePoll for consultancy Lane4, found that 48 per cent of workers feel under pressure at work and that two fifths of them feel they are under severe stress.An overwhelming 91 per cent of workers said they felt that the majority of workplace stress falls on middle management, but that some of that stress trickled down to the most junior staff. Worryingly, 20 per cent of these junior employees believe they are under extreme pressure despite being in the early stages of their careers. The poll results suggest that senior executives are getting an easy ride on the back of hard working lower level staff.Researchers said that the results appear to be driven by the volatility of the current economical climate. Meanwhile, almost half of workers in the private sector said their workload had increased following redundancies at their company, while more than a third were concerned about their personal job security. Nearly a quarter reported taking on extra projects to help colleagues who might be struggling with their workload. The findings suggested a need for change in employer attitudes to junior staff and how their training is managed, researchers said. Adrian Moorhouse, Lane4’s managing director and Olympic gold medallist, said: “It’s a leader’s job to ensure that all staff are able to cope in these tough times. "If it’s junior staff that are feeling a large amount of pressure as revealed in the study, they must provide the tools and techniques to help develop resilience and success strategies. This will help them to thrive on the pressure, rather than crumble beneath it.”
Alexander makes a very point here. The much used phrase "We are in this together", has sounded unconvincing when used by leaders who have taken care of their own remuneration whilst imposing restraint on their staff. To be fair, some leaders have led by example, taking pay cuts and refusing bonuses, but the reported statistics tell us that this is not the norm. Staff can also feel that they are under pressure from executives and the shopfloor in cases where collective bargaining agreements ensure some level of reward for those on the shopfloor whereas staff may not have that kind of certainty.<br/><br/>Those in senior roles need to remember that they must act responsibily and set the right example to others. Additionally, they need to ensure that they are present, visible and available, especially in tough times. The perception of a remote leadership group will only increase feelings of disparity and pressure amongst staff.<br/><br/>We also need to acknowledge that whilst talking about perception, the recession has had a real impact on people's work. It is now not unusual in hard pressed organisations for staff to undertake more than one role or to take on part of a role that has been eliminated. Whilst that is often done for the survival of the organisation, it is a situation that we need to acknowledge as a reality and recognise that it will have an impact. <br/><br/>Finally, HR has a key role to play in this area. They need to ensure that, where disparate treatment or negative perceptions are identified, they are acknowledged and addressed promptly. Left unattended those conditions will lead to staff perceptions being confirmed and will ultimately undermine the effectiveness of the organisation.
In my mind, the most significant result from this study is the fact that most junior or middle managmenent staff believe that the exec have it easier. For me this shows an apparent disconnect and animosity we see between senior exec staff and the rest of the working population. <br/><br/>Though this disconnect is really nothing new, since the 2008 recession it has worsened considerably, as there has been significant pressure on exec level staff to reduce staffing budgets, whilst their own high pay packages have been brought into the limelight. That's what has caused, I believe, results like that shown in this study. Something needs to change.