Bullying and Recession Fears Drive UK Ad Agency Stress Levels to New High

22 November 2001

Bullying by senior managers is experienced by eight out of ten agency and TV production house executives, according to research carried out by psychotherapist and stress counsellor Deirdre Edwards.

Edwards surveyed 170 ad shops and TV production companies in a bid to establish the level of stress experienced by staff in these sectors. She also uncovered widespread fears about recession and job security, leading to stress-induced asthma and skin conditions, drug-taking and heavy drinking.

Stress, alleges Edwards, percolates down the pecking order with many senior managers – themselves under pressure from above – disparaging staff at group meetings. “In trying to motivate people they humiliate them. This is bringing about a spiral of decline.”

The study coincides with the submission of a proposed code of practice to the Council of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. This lays down guidelines as to how agencies should deal with the work/life balances of their staff.

IPA president Bruce Haines admits: “As an industry, we have a poor reputation in this area and I'm committed to doing something about it.”

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO managing director Cilla Snowball also voiced concern: “These findings horrify me. There's no excuse for bullying and people should never be made to feel they can't own up to being stressed.”

News source: CampaignLive (UK)