Korean workers most stressed in the OECD
Feeling anxious all the time? Dread heading to work in the morning?
Join the crowd.
A report released by the Samsung Economic Research Institute yesterday claims that Korea has the highest stress levels and the lowest job satisfaction of any developed country.
The nation ranks at the bottom of the pack among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development member countries, SERI said, because it has had to cope with a series of economic crises without the infrastructure to maintain workers’ mental health.
Though some companies have instituted stress management programs, the report said, many workers still try to hide or suppress their problems rather than seek treatment. Managers also bear some of the blame, it said, for focusing too much on results and not enough on individual workers.
According to the report, 87.8 percent of Korean workers reported experiencing a feeling of malaise or digestive problems, while 74.4 percent said they thought their jobs had driven them to depression.
Another reason an increasing number of Koreans are suffering from such stress-related illnesses, SERI said, is a prevailing belief that a drinking outing can solve most psychological problems.
According to OECD health data from 2009, Korea’s suicide rate per 100,000 was 21.5, the highest among the organization’s member countries and close to twice the average, which was 11.1 suicides per 100,000 people.
“The seriousness of stress is not properly acknowledged in Korea, and people need to maintain a balanced life and try to prevent stress,” said a researcher at SERI.
“However, Korea’s social and working environments are lacking in efforts to prevent individual stress, as they only focus on results.”
In order to overcome the serious problem of individual stress levels, SERI suggested three solutions including a well-rounded, balanced life that includes exercise and hobbies, measuring and managing one’s stress properly through mental health checkups and counseling, and creating a less stressful working environment to prevent more serious disorders from developing.