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Despite progress: Stress has become a permanent thing for financial sector employees

One in five financial sector employees are at risk of developing health-threatening stress. Although less than before, it is still far from good enough, according to the President of Finansforbundet.

14. May 2024
3 min
English / Dansk

Financial sector employees are working harder. So much harder that one in five are at risk of developing health-threatening stress.

This is the outcome of Finansforbundet's satisfaction survey, which was conducted among 9,200 members.

Of these, 19 per cent responded that they are feeling stressed "all the time" or "often". In addition, 20 per cent indicated a lesser degree of well-being or no well-being at all.

Stress is a costly burden for society

An analysis made by the Economic Council of the Labour Movement (AE) shows that stress costs society DKK 55 billion every year, as employees under stress work fewer hours and are sick more often.

“Stress is placing huge financial strain on our society. And even more importantly: it has personal consequences for those affected, and for colleagues and families,” says Dorrit Brandt.

If you disregard the years of the Covid pandemic, when the well-being of members was significantly better, and stress was far less prevalent, this is the first time since 2016 that the stress level of financial sector employees has gone in the right direction. 

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Things are going in the right direction

Since 2019, the proportion of members with 'high stress' has decreased by around 7 percentage points, while the proportion who are thriving has also increased by 7 percentage points over the same period. And that pleases President Dorrit Brandt. 

"Overall, well-being is actually improving. We need to bring forward and learn from the good examples and initiatives. Not just for inspiration and encouragement, but to send a very clear signal to employers that they must take the problem and further needed efforts for a sustainable working life very seriously," she says.

Because despite the good signs, the survey also shows that the positive development has not fully reached those who are struggling. 
While the share of members with low well-being has only decreased by 3 percentage points from 2019 to 2024, the same proportion of members reporting no well-being has actually increased by 1 percentage point from 2022 to 2024

“We are very far from the finish line,” says Dorrit Brandt.

"Finding solutions can and must be prioritised by employers. And we are more than ready to collaborate on this."
- Dorrit Brandt, President of Finansforbundet

Workplaces can take action

According to the survey, your level of well-being and stress depends largely on where in the sector you are employed. 

There are, in fact, large differences within the same job function. For example, as many as 36% of private consultants are at risk of health-threatening stress in a company, while the same applies to 14% of those employed in the best-scoring company. 

And according to Dorrit Brandt, this means that there are buttons to push for companies.

“It shows that you can actually do something in the individual company. That leadership and concrete initiatives matter for well-being and for stress,” she says and makes an appeal:

"Finding solutions can and must be prioritised by employers. And we are more than ready to collaborate on this."

“Stress is placing huge financial strain on our society. And even more importantly: it has personal consequences for those affected," says Dorrit Brandt, President of Finansforbundet.

Employer points to progress

At Finance Denmark/Employer, Director Morten Schønning Madsen notes that since 2019, there has been a general improvement in well-being across all employee age groups in the financial sector. He also highlights that work pressure has decreased and that fewer employees feel stressed.

“Regardless that Finansforbundet's survey indicates well-being in the sector to do well in general – not least for the group of young employees – we agree that efforts must continue to be made to improve well-being. This applies not least in relation to stress,” he writes in his response.

He emphasises that in order to support the member companies’ work to prevent and manage stress, Finance Denmark has collaborated with Finansforbundet, among others, to develop tools to prevent stress. Employers and employees in the financial sector have jointly established BFA Finance, which develops guides and materials in the field of occupational health and safety, including the so-called "Well-being pyramid" and the tool "Create psychological safety"; 

“Initiatives that have been well received. We are confident that they will also contribute to increasing well-being further and will continue to make the financial sector an attractive industry to work in,” says Morten Schønning Madsen.

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