Workplace stress reaches historic high in Flanders; number of workable jobs now below 50 percent

A study by the SERV, the advisory body of Flemish employers and trades unions, had revealed that over 1 in 3 employees are battling stress levels deemed problematic. The figure has never been higher, and has a big impact, the study says: the balance between work and private life comes under pressure, while workplace stress spoils the working day.

The SERV conducts this kind of research every three years, taking soundings from white- and blue-collar workers. Are they enjoying their job, do they get the chance to learn, are they able to combine their work with their family life, or how frequently do they get ill or mentally stressed? The research involved 13,000 workers. 

"In 2013 we had 55 percent workable jobs, now this figure has dipped to just below 50 percent", says Frank Janssens of the SERV, the socio-economic council for Flanders. "The aim of the Flemish social partners and the employers to reach a figure of 60 percent by 2020 is far from being reached." 

In 2013 we had 55 percent workable jobs. This figure has now dropped below 50 percent

The main cause of the negative trend is a surge in the number of complaints related to workplace stress. "In 6 years' time, the number has climbed from about a quarter to more than one third", says Janssens. 37 percent of the employees are voicing this particular complaint. The education sector is worst off with 46 percent, but the care sector and food industry are also scoring below par with almost 40 percent. 

The federal government increased to retirement age with two years to 67 a couple of years ago, but if this is the case, work should become more workable, trades unions say.