Mental health issues impacting employees

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An employee’s perception of their job security has a direct impact on their mental health according to new research.

A major study of more than 20,000 Australians about their employment, conducted by Roy Morgan Research from 2013 to 2015, reveals employees who rate their job security as ‘very poor’ are 50% more likely to suffer anxiety, stress or depression than those with a ‘very good’ sense of security.

The survey found of the 33% of Australian employees suffering anxiety, stress, and/or depression within the last 12 months, 46% of employees with ‘very poor’ job security suffered from one or more of these conditions, compared to 41% of those who rated it as ‘poor’, 35% of those who rated security as ‘fair’ and 30% of employees with ‘very good’ or ‘good’ job security.

There survey also points to a higher proportion of female employees suffering mental health issues – of the 33% that reported suffering anxiety, stress, and/or depression, 41% were females and 27% males.

And the poorer a female’s perceived job security, the higher the rate of mental health issues: 56% of working women who rate job security as ‘very poor’ report suffering one or more of these mental conditions, compared to 49% of those with ‘poor’ job security, 43% of those with ‘fair’ job security, 38% of those with ‘good’ job security and 37% of employed women with ‘very good’ job security.

Among men, the survey notes the rate of mental health conditions is also much higher among employed men with poor security than good, however there was no difference in mental wellbeing between men with ‘very good’ or ‘good’ job security, with 24% of both groups reporting anxiety, stress and/or depression.

However, mental health issues impacted 36% of men with the worst sense of job security, compared to 35% of men that rank their job security as ‘poor’ and 27% that rate it as ‘fair’.

“Among both sexes those employees who feel most insecure in their jobs are over a third more likely than their gender average to suffer mental health issues,” the study notes.

Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research, says it’s interesting that mental health issues arise at different rates among male and female employees.

“Incremental changes in job security affect women, whereas men feel the impacts in a more black and white way. This may be in part because, as our research has also found, women have a greater need for job security—regardless of whether they are the main bread-winner or not.”

Levine points out that while 81% of men are the household’s main income earner compared to 52% of women in paid employment, 71% of women agree they need job security compared to 67% of working men.

“In fact, even just among the nearly half of working women who aren’t the home’s primary earner, 68% nevertheless say they need job security.”

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