Coaching company Talking Talent has published research that shows how pressures and expectations at work are taking their toll on employees and increasing their risk of burning out.

The research found that:

  • More than half (57%) of all employees feel worn out by work;
  • This number rises to over two-thirds (67%) for working parents;
  • 70% of senior managers who feel the same way;
  • 58% of senior managers report that they often lose focus at work;
  • More than half (57%) of graduates feel worn out by work;
  • Two-thirds of graduates (66%) feel they give a lot but get little in return;
  • And three-quarters (75%) of professionals aged 25-34 already feel worn out by work;

The company reports that the threat of burnout is real and immediate. It is not reserved for middle age or later life. Last year in the UK, younger workers took more days off work due to stress than older workers (roughly 65% of 16-24 young workers compared to only 24% of older workers).

It also found that nearly half of all workers do not feel they get enough support from employers.

Talking Talent says there are opportunities for employers to make it easier for their employees to manage their own wellbeing better. But organisations also need to address a cultural challenge. How can they give employees confidence that it is not a sign of weakness to start talking about burnout? Why should employers take on these difficult questions? The research shows that almost a half (49%) of workers often lose focus at work.

And it supports research by the Institute for Public Policy Research, which recently estimated that 460,000 people transition from work to sickness and disability benefits a year, costing employers £9bn a year.

Talking Talent Coach Director, Rob Bravo, says: “Organisations need to take action to support the wellbeing of their people. This research shows how the risk of burnout is real. The challenge of helping employees understand better how to manage their own wellbeing is part of protecting an organisation’s greatest asset – its people. If left unexamined, wellbeing issues will reverse positive trends in diversity and inclusion aimed at improving organisational performance.”

The research shows three key pressure points for organisations to look at:

1. Wearing down working parents

Over two-thirds (67%) of working parents feel worn out by work and the environment in which they work. That’s 10% higher than for all employees.

2. Senior managers are the ‘squeezed middle’ at work

Burnout is a risk for working parents, and for senior managers. Senior managers who are also working parents may need greater support still from their employers.

3. Graduates need permission to speak out

Burnout is not reserved for middle age or later life. Almost 3 in 5 (57%) graduate workers feel worn out by the type of work and the environment which they work in.

A crucial cultural challenge for employers to address is how they can evolve their working culture to give their people the confidence to start talking about the risk of burnout.