Entrepreneurs experience heavy work stress: Study

By Chen Xin (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-10 13:02
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BEIJING - Not only have Chinese chief entrepreneurs been experiencing increased work-related stress in recent years, they also are enjoying far less happiness in their personal lives in a trend which, according to recent survey, is very likely to continue.

The study, conducted by China Entrepreneur Survey System (CESS), has been polling between 3,000 and 5,000 chief executives from companies in different industries nationwide every year since 1993.

CESS researchers reported that, over the past five years, survey results indicated that more than 80 percent of respondents expressed feelings of substantial, or comparatively big pressure related to their jobs.

In 2009, the figure reached a high of 89.5 percent, while 9.6 percent of respondents said they experienced comparatively small pressure. Only 0.9 percent, on the other hand, said they felt no pressure.

Among all tiers of entrepreneurs polled, businessmen from mid-sized companies expressed feelings of being under significantly greater pressure than their contemporaries in smaller and bigger companies.

Respondents from pharmacy, chemical fiber, steel and auto industries reported feeling comparatively bigger degrees of stress, while businessmen in industries like plastics, electric machinery, beauty products and other instruments said they experienced less work-related pressure.

Not surprisingly, according to the study, work-related stress and unhappiness often go hand-in-hand with an entrepreneur's personal life.

The survey was documented qualitatively via a happiness index that noted a decline to 3.64 points from 3.76 points between 2005 and 2009 respectively - out of a high score of 5 points.

The figure dropped to its lowest point in five years, 3.60 points, in 2008, just as the global financial crisis broke out.

The survey also demonstrated that Chinese female entrepreneurs felt happier than male ones.

Overall, the survey also noted that the bigger the company, the happier the businesses' leader.

The survey also showed that the higher the economic and social status enjoyed by the entrepreneur, the greater level of happiness he enjoyed.

CESS general secretary Li Lan told a psychological conference on Saturday that four factors affect Chinese entrepreneurs' sense of pressure and happiness: the management status of the enterprise, external business environment, the entrepreneur himself and social support.

In the survey CESS conducted in 2003, more than 80 percent of entrepreneurs said they value their careers over their health, families, children, and honesty, Li Lan said.

Wang Jisheng, a psychologist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said the satisfaction from his career is the core happiness that a man wants to achieve.

Wang said hobbies such as appreciating music, golf, and angling, while spending more time with one's children, could help balance out work-related stress and unhappiness.

Wang Jisheng also recommended therapy as a solution. Seeing a psychologist, he noted, is the way many successful entrepreneurs in the West deal with their emotional problems.

In China, however, a mere 3 percent of all entrepreneurs choose to seek help from psychologists, the CESS survey also found, while most businessmen prefer to talk with family members or simply endure the pressure by themselves.

China Daily