“The percentage of those in employment in Ireland who reported they are Always under pressure at work (15.4%) is higher than the average for the EU27 (11.0%) with Ireland ranking fourth highest of all member states”

CSO Job Autonomy and Pressure at Work in 2019

We generally see ourselves as quite lucky in Ireland. The cost of living might be high and rent prices rising in the city centre, but generally speaking, there are worst places to live in the world. Based on recent findings from the Labour Force Survey Bulletin for 2019, it would seem that when compared with other European countries, working in Ireland is actually significantly more stressful. While the methods of measuring stress are purely introspective for these findings, it’s still interesting to be given the perspective versus our neighbouring countries.

“Ireland ranks third highest of EU member states for job autonomy with almost two-in-three employed persons reporting having some or a large influence on the content and order of tasks (63.8%) compared to half of those employed in the EU27 (49.6%)”

CSO Job Autonomy and Pressure at Work in 2019

Perhaps it is the autonomy that us Irish folk are given in the jobs we have that make us feel good about working there. At least, this level seems to be significantly higher than other EU countries according to recent studies. While most people prefer being left alone to complete their tasks, others prefer the hands-on approach, and perhaps those are the ones who will suffer as a result of this shift towards a more laissez-faire management style. 

It is mentioned in the survey that men working in Ireland are more likely to have some or a large influence on content and order of tasks (66.7%) than women (61.0%). While this is more of a marginal difference in workplace autonomy, it still represents a gender-gap of sorts. Whether this is due to occupational variance or a more obvious and alarming lack of control given to women, the gap is less evident in the other EU countries where the rates were 50.8% for men and 48.3% for women.

“The percentage of those in employment in Ireland who reported that they are Always under pressure at work (15.4%) is higher than average for the EU27 (11.0%) with Ireland ranking fourth highest of all member states. Those in employment in Malta were the most likely to be Always under pressure at work in 2019 (20.9%) while those in employment in Slovakia were the least likely (4.3%).”

CSO Job Autonomy and Pressure at Work in 2019

Being under pressure is quite a stressful experience, and while some of us may work in occupations such as sales and others constantly working with deadlines, most of us prefer to have as little pressure on us as possible. It is startling to see the Irish people are so much more likely to be “always under pressure” at their workplace than other EU countries. It begs the question, what effect is this having on people’s health, and what can we do to produce results more similar to Slovakia?

Ireland is known to be quite traditional and conservative when it comes to the rest of the world but is important that in 2020 we learn from both our past and other countries with successful working conditions. We are entering a time where change is inevitable, its more important than ever that we look after our employees.