Stress levels rise as bankers feel pressure

Rising stress levels in London’s financial district is driving more than two out of three investment bank staff to consider quitting their job, according to research from insurer MetLife – but employees fear talking about stress or mental health issues to management.

Its study among UK decision makers at financial institutions in the City found that 40% consider their job to be extremely stressful with 67% considering quitting in the next year if stress levels do not improve.

However, despite the impact of stress on their work and home lives, around 70% would not seek help as they believe that admitting to suffering from anxiety or mental health issues will damage their career prospects.

While research shows that investment banks are putting money into tackling stress and investing in support for staff, only 18% of employees say their organisation has a positive attitude to mental health issues. At the same time, 67% say they are provided with resilience training to help them cope with the stress of work.

The wider wellbeing agenda is supported at financial institutions; 81% of staff have access to health advice and 97% are offered subsidised gym membership.  Around 88% receive employee assistance programmes that include counselling. The research shows financial institutions are way ahead of other employers in supporting wellbeing.

Yet other less costly but potentially more effective approaches are not being offered.  Only 44% are offered flexible working and half of those questioned say that they work 25 or more weekends a year.

Tom Gaynor, employee benefits director at MetLife UK said: “Investment banks are, on paper, making a significant commitment to tackling stress and mental health issues amongst their workforces and it is pleasing to see the investments reported in resilience training and wellness at work initiatives.

“Despite this, a significant taboo still exists, as reflected by the high percentage of employees, who said they think that talking about their mental health will damage their career prospects.”

“We know from our 2014 Employee Benefit Trends study that a key driver in helping employees feel valued and engaged in their company is their line manager. This latest research infers that, in addition to putting the monetary investment into programmes for employees, investment banks must address employee perceptions that line managers will not be supportive of an employee asking for help.”




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