Research: lawyers face more pressure than any other British worker

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Legal profession workers are massively more stressed out and pissed off than the average worker, a leading solicitors’ firm discovers after sending in the survey boffins


Slater & Gordon — the Anglo-Australian mega-practice and alternative business structure — is set to release research this week illustrating the intense pressures legal professionals are under.

According to the firm’s figures, while 37% of workers across the board in the UK report that stress has made them under-perform at work, 52% of lawyers claim to be in that boat.

Likewise, 39% of workers generally have called in sick because of stress, but 54% of those in the legal sector have had to pass a day in front of the telly owing to too much pressure at work.

And, according to S&G, about a third of respondents in the legal sector have been so stressed they have cried at work, and not just when getting sight of the drawings of their law firm’s senior partnership.

Slater & Gordon reckons the most astonishing result from its survey is the finding that lawyers and other legal sector workers are most likely to feel there is a stigma to admitting that job stress is impacting on their health — 82% compared to 71% nationally.

The legal profession figures form part of a wider survey of stress in the modern British workplace. It found that more than half of workers say job pressures make them feel constantly stressed with millions reporting insomnia, hair loss and panic attacks.

Almost a third said the stress from their jobs had at times left them struggling to complete basic everyday tasks, but just 20% said they would be comfortable telling their boss they were stressed.

The firm’s researchers cite 10 leading causes of stress:

Too much work

Unrealistic deadlines

Insufficient pay for hours worked and duties performed

Work hours eating into private life

Fear of missing targets

An expectation to work overtime

Undue scrutiny/micromanagement by bosses

Harassment by bosses/colleagues

Fear of redundancy

Relationships with colleagues

Slater & Gordon employment lawyer Harriet Bowtell commented:

“The UK workforce is known to work some of the longest hours in Europe and this research confirms that work pressures, including hours, are making people ill.”

“Most jobs come with certain pressures from time to time, but your employer has a responsibility to ensure that they are not causing you to have genuine health problems because of the workplace environment.”