New research by Cigna Healthcare has unveiled a stark gender divide in the impact of global events and the cost of living crisis on mental health, with women experiencing significantly higher levels of burnout and stress compared to their male counterparts.
Conducted across 12 countries, Cigna Healthcare’s study sheds light on the disproportionate burden faced by women in workplaces worldwide. The research, developed in collaboration with clinical psychologist Dr. Richard Ryan, examined various factors contributing to individual well-being. Against a backdrop of pressing global issues, including the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, the study found:
- Women are more likely to suffer from burnout and stress at work than men
- Low emotional and financial well-being emerge as leading causes of these mental health challenges, compounded by the persisting gender pay gap.
- An alarming 49 per cent of respondents pointed to the ongoing cost of living crisis as the primary source of stress.
The study reveals that women exhibit significantly lower levels of ‘vitality’ than men, primarily attributed to a ‘perceived lack of energy and positive spirit.’ Emotional and financial well-being scores for women also lag behind those of men, with men’s higher scores closely tied to greater financial security.
Notably, the gender pay gap emerges as a substantial issue, with women being twice as likely as men to earn less than £1,500 per month. In total 52 per cent of women fall into this income bracket, compared to just 26p per cent of men.
In addition, more than half (53 per cent) of women experiencing stress reported disrupted sleep patterns and persistent tiredness as significant consequences.
Cigna Healthcare chief medical officer Dr. Stella George says: “Our latest research reveals some alarming statistics concerning the well-being of women. Increased levels of stress and burnout will have long-term effects, with a fifth of those in the UK reporting feeling more helpless, trapped, and defeated than normal. These are dangerous levels of stress and burnout, and people need to understand that help is out there. Importantly, employers can offer those suffering from burnout much-needed support, from recognising the warning signs to understanding the effects and helping to manage and reduce burnout within teams.”
Cigna Healthcare CEO Arjan Toor, adds: ”Cigna’s Vitality Study demonstrates a well-being crisis in the UK, with alarming rates of burnout and stress, particularly among women. As we grapple with significant global challenges like conflict, illness, and the cost-of-living crisis, we are constantly bombarded with distressing news, leaving little room for relief, all of which impacts our day-to-day lives. It’s no longer sufficient to measure well-being using narrow health metrics alone. We must consider the bigger picture, including intellectual and emotional stimulation, cultural and social connections, financial and physical security, and health. Work plays a central role in people’s vitality and well-being, and it is essential for every employer to incorporate this into their workplace health plan.”
The research underscores the urgent need for employers, policymakers, and society as a whole to address the mental health challenges faced by women in the wake of ongoing global events and economic pressures. Initiatives aimed at reducing the gender pay gap, enhancing financial security, and providing emotional support are crucial steps toward creating a more equitable and resilient workforce.