Report: Women Suffer from Workplace Stress Differently than Men

Research conducted by the Kenexa Research Institute (KRI) investigated the stress caused by work, and a worker's ability to balance both his/her professional and personal lives.

The report is based on the analysis of data drawn from a representative sample of 10,000 U.S. workers who were surveyed through WorkTrends(TM), KRI's annual survey of worker opinions. In the United States, women report more work stress than men. Fifty-six percent of women indicate that their "stress level was reasonable," while more than a quarter of women (26 percent) felt that their work stress has reached unreasonable levels.

Across occupations, more often women reported unreasonable amounts of stress than men did, with the largest difference between men and women being in front-line supervisory roles (10 percent more women rate their work stress as unreasonable), service and production jobs (8 percent) and middle and upper management (6 percent).

The results indicate regardless of gender, employees are more than twice as likely to think about leaving their job if they have a high level of work stress. For professional and technical workers, the issues of work/life balance, doing exciting work that they are good at, having a respectful manager, being paid fairly, working on a resourced and functioning team and having a career path all contribute to the level of work stress one experiences.

Looking at the differences between genders, results show that women's work stress is more related to managerial support and equal opportunity, whereas men's stress drivers focus more on product quality and trust in senior leadership.

Brenda Kowske, research consultant, Kenexa Research Institute, said, "Organizational leaders can reduce stress by providing a career path while still supporting work/life balance. Managers need to be in on the effort by ensuring fair treatment in evaluation and compensation, tapping employee motivation and ensuring adequately resourced teams. Honesty and integrity also matter. Employees need to be able to report unethical behavior. In sum, work stress is about fairness, honesty, and doing what you love -- but not having it consume your life."

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