POSTED: July 12 2018
UK workers facing ‘Unmanageable Stress’

UK workers facing ‘Unmanageable Stress’

A global health survey shows that stress is the UK’s number one well-being issue with the UK scoring the lowest among Western developed countries.

The 2018 Cigna 360° Well-Being Survey explores concerns and perceptions about well-being in 23 countries and territories around the world.

Unmanageable stress and work-related stress has resulted in the UK being ranked the lowest among developed Western countries for well-being. This comes against a backdrop of growing demand from employees in the UK for workplace well-being support.

Cigna’s research shows that eight in ten people are experiencing stress, with one in five saying that they have ‘unmanageable stress’. The UK ranks fifth worst for unmanageable stress in the world, behind only the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Korea.


Work is the UK’s leading cause of stress

In the UK, more than a quarter (26%) of stress sufferers report work as the reason. Other typical sources of stress such as finances, family issues and health problems cause people in the UK less stress than their working lives.

The survey also shows that the UK is falling behind other Western markets in its development of workplace well-being programes, with less than one in ten (9%) employees saying they have a workplace well-being programme and that they use it. This compares to over one in five (22%) employees globally reporting that they use a workplace well-being programme.

Support with workplace well-being is becoming an important deciding factor in choosing a potential employer, with almost half (44 percent) of people saying the availability of a workplace well-being programme would sway them towards a potential employer. For Millennials, workplace well-being support ranks even higher, with over half (53 percent) saying they would choose an employer that offers a workplace well-being programme over one that does not.

Workplace well-being programmes need to step up

Cigna’s research also shows that workplace well-being programmes need to step up their support for employees with mental health and emotional well-being issues; UK employees with a group healthcare plan say they need more help to manage their stress.

The research highlights that almost one in three (29%) employees rate stress management as the second most desired healthcare benefit in the UK, after dental benefits (32%).

While more than eight in ten (84%) people have suffered a mental health condition at some point in their lives, only a quarter of them received support from their employer. Stigma and lack of support for mental health continue to be concerns in the workplace, and half of employees with an emotional well-being concern were too embarrassed to admit they had a problem.

Phil Austin, CEO Europe at Cigna, said: “It’s clear employers have an important role to play in mental health. Our research shows that despite people wanting more help, the UK is lagging behind comparable countries in offering workplace well-being support. But the good news is that employers are beginning to recognise the cost of poor mental health at work and the impact this can have on their employees and business.”


You can download a copy of the 2018 Cigna 360 survey here.



The 2018 Cigna 360° Well-being Survey drew on 14,467 online interviews conducted from February to March 2018 across 23 countries and territories and can be downloaded here.