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Project staff have 40 per cent greater risk of stress

About every tenth member of Finansforbundet is employed for a specific project. National research now shows that this group is significantly more exposed to stress, anxiety and depression than permanent employees. Organisations should focus on the well-being of all employees, says Vice-President of Finansforbundet, Michael Budolfsen.

27. Mar 2023
2 min
English / Dansk

Employees in temporary positions are much more likely to develop mental disorders than permanent employees. That is the result of recently published research from the Danish National Research Centre for the Working Environment (NFA).

It comes as no surprise to Vice-President of Finansforbundet Michael Budolfsen that employment without a guarantee of extension may have an adverse effect on mental health.

"Well-being and job satisfaction are human rights, and everybody should feel included at work – even those who are only there for a limited period of time."
- Michael Budolfsen, Vice President of Finansforbundet.

In fact, the most recent job satisfaction survey among members, of whom an estimated ten per cent constitutes project staff, showed that this group experiences more stress; i.e. 27 per cent compared to an average of 22 per cent.

In the Vice-President’s opinion, something needs to be done to improve this:

"In essence, organisations should maintain focus on the well-being of all employees; also those who are employed for fixed-term projects. The uncertainty experienced by some project staff may amplify the pressure they are already coping with in respect of project performance and deadlines," he says and continues:

"Well-being and job satisfaction are human rights, and everybody should feel included at work – even those who are only there for a limited period of time."

Read more on how to find a better balance in your daily life

40 per cent higher risk

The study by the Danish NFA is part of the research project 'Fixed-term employment and mental health problems', which includes data on more than 106,000 Danes across industries.

It shows that people in temporary positions within five years are approximately 40 per cent more likely to receive treatment for mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression and stress than the permanently employed.

In addition, the risk of needing prescription drugs for the same types of conditions is 12 per cent greater.

Negative impact

According to Professor Anne Hele Garde, one of the researchers behind the study, this suggests that short-term employment may have a negative effect on people's mental health; a connection which has not previously been demonstrated in a Danish context.

It cannot be ruled out, however, that other factors may be involved. For example, how people who are more likely to develop such conditions are more often employed in temporary positions.


Mental illnesses are common

Mental illnesses are some of the most common disorders in Denmark. The NFA states that, according to an OECD analysis from 2019, Denmark spends approximately DKK 110 billion on mental health problems.


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How do we protect our mental health and well-being when our work life is under constant change? And what learnings and initiatives should we make use of to ensure both fellowship and flexibility? Learn and get inspired here.

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