Survey Stresses The Effect Of Stress

Ironmongery Direct has again surveyed UK tradespeople to highlight the issue of work-related stress within the industry – revealing the scale of the problem.

The survey looks at how things have changed since last year, the most common causes of stress, the impact it has on tradespeople’s lives and crucially, what you can do if this affects you.


Who is affected?

Worryingly, more than four in five UK tradespeople (84%) say they've experienced some form of mental health problem due to work, such as stress, anxiety or depression. Many of these individuals deal with such issues on a regular basis, with more than a quarter (29%) reporting symptoms every week and almost half (48%) every fortnight. Shockingly, more than two-thirds (68%) experience work-related stress at least once a month.

Some tradespeople are more likely to experience mental health issues than others. Female workers (89%), for example, are more prone to such conditions than men (79%), according to the survey results.



Those who are between 18 and 24 years old are the most likely to face these challenges, with almost all of those surveyed (98%) reporting some form of mental health issue every year. However, it is those aged 35 to 44 who face such conditions most often, with one in ten (10%) struggling daily.


Self employed

IronMongery Direcgt also explored whether being employed or self-employed has any impact on mental health. Last year the research found that self-employed tradespeople were far less likely to have issues but this year the opposite is true, perhaps due to the stress of dealing with the difficult financial landscape of their own. One in ten (10%) self-employed workers experience symptoms daily, compared to 6% of employed individuals.


The causes

The causes of these mental health issues are incredibly varied and will differ for every individual. However, the ongoing cost-of-living crisis is the number one concern, with almost two in five (39%) saying it's a major cause of stress. Almost two in five (39%) workers are now doing extra shifts as a result, risking burnout, while more than a fifth (21%) say the situation has made their mental health worse.

The rising cost of materials is now also amongst the main stressors (36%) – the research found that tradespeople rank the issue as the biggest challenge faced by the industry in 2023.


Job security

Job security is on the mind of young tradespeople, with almost a quarter of Gen Z workers (18-24, 24%) not feeling confident about their employment. This young generation is more than twice as likely as their older colleagues to be worried about job security (7% of over 55s).


What is the impact?

These stressors have a significant impact, with 6% of UK tradespeople taking or have taken anti-depressants or some form of similar medication. Moreover, the same number (6%) have needed professional help from a counsellor or therapist. This number should probably be higher too, as almost nine in ten (89%) workers say they don't know how to access mental health support services.

Mental health issues have also caused one in seven (14%) to take time off work.

Despite experiencing more mental health problems, self-employed workers are less likely than employed tradespeople to take time off for such reasons (11% vs 16%), potentially making the situation worse.


Not talking

More than four in five (84%) say they don't feel comfortable talking about their mental health with others. This is more of a problem amongst male tradespeople, with (86%) finding it hard to discuss what they're feeling, compared to (82%) of tradeswomen.

Furthermore, one in ten (10%) UK tradespeople say they worry what others would think if they told them about their mental health situation.

IronMongery Direct says that all employers should make an effort to invest in mental health training, so they know what signs to look for and how to help anyone who needs support.


For support specific to the construction industry go to:

To speak to someone about your mental health, visit the Construction Industry Helpline


To listen to mental wellbeing podcasts – Click Here


Picture: IronMongery Direct has conducted a survey amongst tradespeople to establish the effect of stress on mental health and wellbeing.

Article written by Cathryn Ellis
26th October 2023


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