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Stressed for money

Research indicates that employees are willing to take more stress for larger pay packets. Anusha Subramanian investigates.

india Updated: Jan 17, 2006 19:56 IST

R. Venkatesh works with a nationalised bank in Mumbai from 9.30 am to 4.30 pm and is quite content with his work schedule. Reason being that his present job gives him a lot more time for himself. What if he is given a high stress job, with triple his existing salary? The answer is a prompt "no." "I do not want my life to be just 'work and office'," he says.

On the other hand, Sakshi Mehra, a media planner, is willing to take on stress if she gets well compensated for the job. "Right now, I am ready to take on stress and earn lots of money," she says. Employees like Sakshi want to settle for high stress jobs in lieu of higher pay scales as per an online poll conducted by Monster India.

According to the poll, 41 per cent of the respondents would not mind taking on high stress jobs if they are well compensated — the reason being burgeoning competition that forces employees to raise the bar constantly. The survey is a part of Monster Meter, a series of online polls that gauge users' opinions on a variety of topics relating to careers and the workplaces.

The results of this study have been based on 8,355 plus votes cast by Monster users between October 6 and 20, 2005, on the Monster- india.com job search page.

Says Dhruvkanth Shenoy, VP (Marketing), Monster Asia, "One sees a trend in people wanting to take the fast track to the top. Success is increasingly being measured by visible professional achievements. On the one hand is the drive to succeed professionally and on the other, is the direct result of such an accomplishment -- material rewards. It appears that a significant percentage of people who participated in the poll are driven by the desire to succeed even if that meant taking on more stressful profiles."

Industry experts feel that in the present job scenario, the work atmosphere has drastically changed over the years. Technological change has had a substantial influence on the workplace altering production processes and affecting the way jobs are done. Employees in these knowledge-based workplaces are generally seen as working long hours under pressure to generate new plans, ideas, products and services in competitive environments.

Monisha Advani, CEO, EmmayHR, a Randstad company, however feels that "stress cannot be attributed to any sector or a company or even to any particular job. Every responsible job is stressful. Today, companies are coming up with better compensation packages as they feel that that's the only way to motivate and help employees handle stress."

As per the Monster study, more than one-third (33 per cent) of the participants want a cut of up to 15 per cent in their current salary for a lesser stressful job, while only 9 per cent of the respondents want to opt for a cut in salary higher than 15 per cent to get a less stressful job. However, the fourth set of respondents, a total of 16 per cent don’t have a stressful job at all.

For most, stress is not a way of life but a forced decision to compete with their subordinates. It's the pressure to perform and move ahead in life at the shortest span of time. But there are a few who value their personal time more than anything else.

As Venkatesh says, "There is absolutely no job on this earth which cannot be done within eight hours." Shenoy sums up, "There still remains a set of employees who value work-life balance over and above stress and money.

Therefore, evidently so, more than one-third of the respondents want to go in for a cut in their salaries, if need be, and settle for low pays and less stressful jobs."

First Published: Jan 17, 2006 19:56 IST