The British workplace is becoming more stressful and this is largely down to job insecurity, according to a new poll commissioned by the Independent on Sunday. The poll reveals that just one-third of British employees look forward to going to work, with one-quarter worried that they may lose their jobs within the next year.

The poll comes in the aftermath of research by the TUC that found similar concerns among its members and identified businesses with over 1,000 employees as the places where the problem was worst. The public sector was particularly badly affected and the Health and Safety Executive reports that almost 500,000 people suffered anxiety, depression or work-related stress in the last financial year.

The new survey also looked at job satisfaction and found that half the respondents feel their skills and abilities are underutilised in their current jobs. This contrasts strongly with the usual findings for Umbrella Company employees and other members of the professional contracting community and may explain why an increasing number of people are moving into areas where they have more direct control over how they work.

The shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, attributed the rise in stress to a weakening of employment law and said action needs to be taken to make sure workplaces are fair. A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills pointed out that overall employment is now higher than ever before.

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