Public sector execs seeing high workloads, poor health

Rate of obesity at all-time high: Survey
||Last Updated: 10/22/2013

Public sector executives might be working fewer hours but they are still experiencing high levels of stress and poor health, according to a survey by Apex (the Association of Professional Executives of the Public Service of Canada).

In 2007, executives worked an average of 52.1 hours per week, compared to 50.7 hours in 2012, found the survey of 2,314 executives. And while one-quarter are working more than 55 hours per week, that’s down from 30 per cent five years ago.

While 59 per cent of executives said the use of technology increases their productivity, 84 per cent said it adds to their workload and 46 per cent said it contributes to a decrease in their work-life balance.

Social support scores are at an alltime low. Support from supervisors has fallen from a high of 3.59 out of four in 1997 to 2.8 in 2012. Support from colleagues has dropped from 3.91 in 1997 to three in 2012.

More than one-fifth of executives reported being verbally harassed in the 12 months prior to the survey. One in 10 said their workplace lacks respect and civility. Top uncivil behaviours include: not sharing credit, breaking promises, showing anger, blaming, telling lies and making negative comments.

More than one-third of executives reported being verbally harassed by their direct supervisor, found the survey. Direct supervisors are also the main source of uncivil behaviours in the workplace.

Other highlights from the Apex survey:

•The number of executives reporting that most days are extremely or quite stressful has dropped slightly from 53 per cent in 2002 to 51 per cent in 2012.

•The number of executives reporting that their physical health is “excellent” or “very good” has decreased by about three percentage points, from 61 per cent in 2007 to 58 per cent in 2012.

•13 per cent of executives said their health is “fair” or “poor” compared to nine per cent in 2007.

•Cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure are continuing a

downward trend, from a high of 22 per cent in 2002 to 17.4 per cent in 2012. However, these diseases still afflict nearly one in five executives.

•Respiratory diseases are steadily decreasing, from 12 per cent in 1997 to 5.6 per cent in 2012.

•Musculoskeletal disorders such as back and neck problems have increased from20 per cent in 2002 to 28 per cent in 2012.

•The percentage of executives with mental health conditions has almost doubled, from six per cent in 2007 to 11 per cent in 2012.

•At 43 per cent, the rate of obesity among executives has reached an alltime high. Almost twothirds (61 per cent) of executives are either overweight or obese, putting them at risk for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

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