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Last Updated: Friday, 17 February 2006, 00:00 GMT
Business stress levels 'double'
Stressed man
Stress can be the price of increased economic growth
Stress levels among the world's business leaders have doubled over the last year, a survey says.

Taiwan is top of the stress table for the second year running, with 90% of respondents feeling more pressured, said business advisers Grant Thornton.

Fifty seven percent of all business owners globally reported higher stress levels, compared to 39% in 2004.

And just 6% of the 7,000 businessmen or women questioned said that their stress levels had gone down.

After Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Botswana, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Africa led the countries with the most stressed-out business leaders.

Grant Thornton said that "without a doubt" the least stressed business people in the last year were to be found in Europe and the US, although stress levels there also rose dramatically.

All work no play

The most chilled-out country was Sweden, which registered only 24% of business people feeling more stressed, followed by Italy, Spain and France.

Stress levels rocketed in 2005 - all around the world, whether economic activity was picking up or slowing down
Grant Thornton

Forty-three percent of business leaders in Holland and the UK felt more stress, just below the 45% level found in the US.

There was a direct link between stress and the amount of holiday taken by executives around the world.

Most business leaders in East Asia suffered from a high stress increase in 2005, possibly as a result of the poor holiday allowance.

Workers in Thailand have only four days' holiday on average. Taiwanese have eight days, while Malaysia and Turkey have 10 days' holiday.

European countries took by far the highest number of days' holiday at 22 days on average, Grant Thornton said.

"Stress levels rocketed in 2005 - all around the world, whether economic activity was picking up or slowing down," said Andrew Godfrey, partner at Grant Thornton.

"Keeping up with fast growth or combating recession are both equally stressful, although Asian business leaders are under particular strain, as their businesses and markets continue to show phenomenal growth."


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