The stress of working in a post credit crunch world is making banking and finance professionals feel unhealthy, according to a new survey.
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Fear of losing their jobs, regulatory pressures and disrespect from customers is taking a physical and psychological toll on many workers, says the study by UNI Finance, an international union for banking and finance workers.
Looking at members in 26 countries, the union reveals 80% of national banking unions report pressures at work have led to health worries for many of their members.
Unreachable sales targets, lower salaries and bonuses and redundancy were the major stress factors, explained researchers.
Many financial companies are expecting fewer workers to take on heavier workloads, while cutting jobs and replacing staff with lower paid and less experienced temporary workers on short contracts.
Although many outside the industry feel little sympathy for financial workers, the union is worried about their increasing health problems.
“This is another banking crisis that affects a lot of people,” said Marcio Monzane, head of UNI Finance. “Bank owners are rightly to blame for their role, but millions of employees have had their lives disrupted by the continual changes affecting the industry.
“Thousands of jobs have gone, while those left behind have to work harder to cover. The stress they are under is huge and is affecting their health and lifestyles immensely.”
Many banks are still sacking workers to cut costs – especially in France, the Netherlands, and Greece.
Job losses are slowing in other countries, notably Ireland, Britain and Spain, but the slowdown follows years of axing thousands of staff.
Distressing for workers
The union also highlights some trends in the banking industry that are distressing for workers.
Many banks are restructuring to meet now regulations, many staff are under intense pressure to sell financial services to customers, while many jobs are going offshore to countries where costs are cheaper.
Bankers at all levels told the union that they are concerned their jobs are at risk and find moving from full time to short term contracts a stress as they could face the sack at any time.
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