The youngest members of the UK’s workforce may well be considering switching from permanent posts to umbrella companies if findings from a new poll continue for much longer.  Employees aged 18 – 29 believe they have been forced to shoulder the heaviest workloads in the wake of the recession and many report suffering high degrees of workplace stress, according to a survey from the market research agency GfK NOP Engage.

One of the oft-cited benefits to joining contractor payroll is an improved work-life balance – precisely the issue that young employees complain is under almost intolerable strain.  The poll found that 40 per cent of young employees are stressed at work, while only 25 per cent of respondents aged 60 or over reported similar levels of workplace strain.  Two fifths of young workers claim that their employers coerce them into taking ever-heavier workloads on the grounds that tough economic conditions make it a necessity.  Many are now openly concerned about the effects of workplace stress on their work-life balance.

Of the 29 nations surveyed in the Gfk NOP Engage report, the UK ranked 17th for employer engagement with young employees – hardly a ringing endorsement.  Especially when you consider that countries with far less developed economies, such as Turkey, Mexico and Macedonia, performed better in this respect than the UK.

Commenting on the findings, Sukhi Ghataore, Gfk NOP Engage’s Director, made an ominous observation.  Businesses that look on young employees as cheap and expendable labour may, she noted, live to pay the price.  Many managers, it would seem, need to up their game with respect to young employees if the economy is really going to thrive.

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