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02 Apr 2019

Employers need to create tailored wellbeing programmes to reduce stress in women

New research from Cigna has revealed that pressures in the workplace and at home are leading to working women feeling more stressed than men (79 per cent women vs 66 per cent men), with 10 per cent of women finding their stress ‘unmanageable’. 


The annual Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey found: 

  • Women feel unsupported in the workplace, with 62 per cent stating their employer did not have a formal workplace wellness programme in place
  • The top stress triggers were heavy workloads (17 per cent), personal health (13 per cent) and financial concerns (13 per cent) 
  • 78 per cent of women are not getting enough sleep (vs 65 per cent of men)
  • 44 per cent of women believe senior management lack commitment to providing workplace wellness support.

Given the high levels of stress amongst working women and an appetite for tailored wellness programmes, the health service provider is calling for employers to take note. 

Phil Austin, Chief Executive Officer – Cigna Europe: “It’s evident from our research that women are finding it difficult in today’s society to balance work and life, resulting in higher levels of stress compared to men, so we’re calling on employers to take action. We believe that sustained and evidence-based improvements to wellness programmes will create a less stressed working environment, within which women will be happier and more productive.” 

Social issues
The pressures women face at work and home is part of a wider social issue present in today's society and it’s significantly affecting their wellness:

  • Only 27 per cent are eating a balanced diet (vs 38 per cent of men)
  • 28 per cent are exercising on a regular basis (vs 36 per cent of men). 
  • Three quarters (75 per cent) of women do not feel positive about their finances (vs 62 per cent of men)
  • Almost half (46 per cent) of the women surveyed do not believe they have a satisfactory salary (vs 56 per cent of men). 
  • Only 17 per cent have sufficient money for retirement (vs 34 per cent of men)
  • Of those with children, only 38 per cent feel they are able to take care of their children’s current financial needs. Men are more confident about their finances, happier with their salary and feel more comfortably set for retirement. 

Stress amongst working women is not unique to the UK. Our findings illustrate the global epidemic, with a staggering 88 per cent of working women around the globe feeling stressed, and 13  per cent are suffering from unmanageable stress. 

Austin concludes: “With data from this survey and other research projects, Cigna can help improve the health, well-being and peace of mind of the people we serve. We are focused on providing solutions and support across all dimensions of well-being and are proud to work with some of UK’s top employers to create a healthy and happy workforce.” 

UK above global wellbeing index
Now in its fifth year, the Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey examines people’s perceptions of well-being across five key pillars - physical, family, social, financial and work. This year’s survey finds that despite slightly better overall scores in the UK, women still fall behind when it comes to their well-being, displaying higher levels of stress and finding it challenging to maintain physical and financial health. 

The results reveal that the overall UK Well-Being Index increased slightly from 59.7 in 2018 to 62.5 in 2019. This means that, after a fall in previous years, the Index is improving. The UK now sits above the global average (62.0) and ranks higher than European markets such as Benelux (59.1), France (61.6) and Germany (61.6). 

To read the full report, visit 2019 Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey – “Well and Beyond”. 

This article is sponsored by Cigna. 

If you'd like to hear a lot more on the topic of employee wellbeing, and also specifically from Cigna, then sign up for Employee Wellbeing Congress on 20 June in London, where they'll be exhibiting.


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In partnership with CIGNA

Cigna is one of the world's largest investor-owned global health service companies.

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