Further education staff stress survey

thumbnail of UNISON STRESS SURVEY 2019 Branch survey

The latest survey on workforce stress in further education in Scotland – is now available. Little has been done to improve the situation since we published the last survey in 2016. The report also includes the details from Freedom of Information Act requests.

Staff blame the increasing stress on too much work, staff shortages and lack of input into their work. Colleges need adequate funding to employ enough staff to do the work that is required to meet the needs of students. Piling increasing work onto current staff is having a detrimental impact on staff.


Staff Survey

  • 37% of support staff reported having taken sick leave due to stress or partially due to stress (at least 17% increase since 2016).
  • 60% felt that workloads were high or extremely high, 62% were concerned about their own workload and stress and 56% have suffered stress specifically due to workloads.
  • Over 60% of respondents were unaware of stress policies at work (almost double figure from 2016).
  • 97% said managers hadn’t spoken to them about Group Stress Risk Assessments. 73% said managers had never discussed work levels and stress with them.
  •  85% of respondents were not advised by colleges to complete an Individual Risk Assessment form After returning from stress related sickness. 90% did not do so
  • Almost 69% of respondents felt that their stress issues were not dealt with by the colleges in a satisfactory way.

Freedom of Information request

  • Over 1,500 staff members (majority support staff) listed stress as one of reasons for sickness between April 2014 and March 2017. A 37% rise  over 3 years up to March 2017.
  • An almost 25% increase in numbers of staff specifically listing work related stress in the same period.
  • Over 50,000 days lost to stress by college staff over the last three years. An increase of 40%.
  • An average of 23 staff members every year in every college are absent due to or partially due to stress. Edinburgh College had 104 staff members in 2017 alone
  • Only 10% of the 1,530 staff who suffered stress completed an Individual Stress Risk Assessment when returning to work. Some colleges do not monitor or record at all.
  • Only 55% of colleges in Scotland have a specific avoidance of stress policy and none have a specific work group.