Financial circumstances have been cited as the biggest cause of stress by 38% of employees – with almost half (47%) of millennials saying it was their number one source for stress, but only a quarter (24%) of Baby Boomers agreeing.
The research, by Willis Towers Watson (WTW), also found that millennials were more stressed than their parents in other areas of their lives, including relationships (41% vs 20%), jobs (38% vs 32%), and health (29% vs 24%).
The research also found that finances were a bigger worry for women workers (44%) than their male colleagues (34%).
“The younger generation is often regarded as carefree, but this research challenges this perception,” said Mike Blake, wellbeing lead at WTW.
“From job insecurity, pay freezes, mounting student debts, high property prices and the emergence of the gig economy, millennials have had a lot to contend with financially when reaching working age.
“What’s more, millennials also worry more about their health than the older generation. Millennials are often overlooked when it comes to health, as there is a misconception that having youth on their side makes them ‘fit and fine’.”
In addition, the study, conducted among 2,824 UK employees, revealed that one in ten (13%) employees have taken time off work due to mental health issues in the past two years.
Highly-stressed workers took more than twice as many sick days as workers with low stress (6.5 days vs 2.6 days), and the rate of sick days for workers with anxiety or depression was more than double that of all other workers (7.1 days vs 3 days).
Blake said: “The business impact of stress, anxiety and depression can be severe. Prevention is always better than cure.
“By evaluating sickness absence data, companies can identify if there is a stress issue among certain demographics and develop a tailored approach to effective support.
“Raising awareness of stress and mental health by regularly adding the topic to the agenda in one-to-ones and team meetings can encourage conversations, enhance greater understanding amongst colleagues, help to build internal support networks and increase resilience.
According to the research however, almost half (45%) of employees are not comfortable disclosing stress or anxiety issues to their manager.
“Training line managers to recognise the symptoms that indicate a worker is struggling can enable early intervention before matters escalate, Blake added.
“Bringing the topic out in the open breaks down barriers and removes any fears that may exist inhibiting staff from admitting that a problem exists and from asking for assistance.”