UK ad folk driven mad by stress says new NABS survey

A study commissioned by the UK’s NABS advertising charity has revealed that a quarter of workers (23 per cent) in the creative and media sector find their working environment overly stressful most of the time – and two-thirds (65 per cent) admit to reaching points in their career when they felt so stressed they were unable to cope.

It also found that 84 per cent of of advertising and media employees say demands on them have risen over the past year, one in seven (14 per cent) now works more than 55 hours a week and four in ten (41 per cent) mainly attribute their stress to external sources such as client demands.

Over half (52 per cent) are worried about telling senior staff they’re feeling stressed, in case it’s viewed as a sign of weakness (rising to 69 per cent among newly-employed graduates). However a majority (77 per cent) didn’t view a colleague who admitted to suffering from stress as being weak.

Ad agencies are particularly affected: 90 per cent of workers in media agencies feel demands have increased this past year, as against 77 per cent of those working for media owners. Meanwhile creative agencies are apparently the most stressful environments in the sector: 26 per cent of employees describe them as overly stressful most of the time.

Unknown-8Zoë Osmond, CEO of NABS (left), says: “Every caller to our Advice Line is experiencing some element of stress or anxiety even if this is not the presenting issue and at least ten percent of the calls we receive specifically complain of stress-related pressures and sickness. Issues such as increasing workloads, client demands and presenteeism are rampant in the advertising and media sector – and they all lead to a significant rise in work-related stress. This has lead NABS to respond with our specially themed Resilience Programme.”

This is a collection of expert services, workshops and support collateral designed to help build resilience to stress among creative and media professionals. Full details are to be found here.

A sorry tale indeed. Maybe it was ever thus (any business where jobs can disappear overnight if an account moves is bound to be stressy). NABS, which has also elected Stephen Miron from Associated Newspapers as its new president, is supported by the UK industry’s big cheeses including WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell.

Yet these, presumably, are the people who are driving their staff around the bend, if the survey is to be believed.

What that’s expression? Physician heal thyself?

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