UK Markets open in 7 hrs 19 mins

Warning Over 'Burnout Britain' For Workers

(c) Sky News 2012

More than half of British employees are now working longer hours than they were three years ago, a new report suggests.

Researchers said some 58% of workers say their job demands have expanded, while 34% believe they are affected by excessive pressure.

The study, published by professional services firm Tower Watson, surveyed 32,000 employees worldwide for its global workforce study (GWS), including 2,600 workers in the UK.

It claimed Britain is heading for a "well-being meltdown" due to the pressure of the recession.

"From pay cuts to longer working hours, the GWS highlights the demands on workers that the recession has brought about, with only half (53%) of UK workers feeling their stress levels at work are manageable," it said.

"Despite increasing requirements for businesses to provide workers with advice on health and well-being, just a third (31%) of employees feel that their senior leaders support such policies."

Researchers added that British workers feel a need to display their commitment to the job as more than a 25% have failed to maximise their annual holiday or personal time off entitlements since 2009.

Exacerbated by the trend of cutting workforce numbers, one-in-five employees now feels that the amount of work they are asked to do is unreasonable, meanwhile 30% believe their organisation is under-funded in human resources.

The study showed results for the UK were broadly in line with those seen across Europe (Chicago Options: ^REURUSD - news) , the Middle East and Africa, with similar numbers of workers feeling that there was excessive pressure, longer working hours and fewer resources.

Towers Watson said it also identified a clear link between the levels of well-being and engagement in a company’s workforce and organisational performance.

It said that firms with low engagement produced an average operating margin of around 10% while organisations with high sustainable engagement performed nearly three times better - with operating margins of over 27%

Another issue that appeared was career development being hampered because staff were retiring at a later age, with a trend appearing of three generations appearing in the workforce.

Towers Watson's Nick Tatchell, who was involved in the research, said: "About a quarter of the people we interviewed thought because people weren't retiring it was becoming an issue.

"There is another issue and that is of people being 'stuck'. The want to contribute and they want to do a good job.

"But only about half of them say they have the 'tools' to achieve that and believe they are 'stuck'.

He added: "So they feel they are stuck both with tools and resources and also in their careers. People feel that is lacking at the moment."