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A Research by Deloitte: Stress Levels Rise Among Working Women, 50% Say They Feel “Burned out”

A study by Deloitte showed while 57% of working women in Japan reported having poor mental health, many do not talk about mental health challenges at work. Though flexible ways of working in terms of times and locations are in place, actions and initiatives are required against stress and harassment.

TOKYO, JAPAN, 9 June 2022

Deloitte Tohmatsu Group (Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Group CEO: Kenichi Kimura) is releasing the Japan version of “Women @ Work: A Global Outlook” based on global research by Deloitte from November 2021 to February 2022, following last year’s report.

This research articulates overall satisfaction, outlook, and motivation of working women as well as what companies are supposed to do, while COVID-19 pandemic continues. 5,000 working women participated in the survey across 10 countries, from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, South Africa, U.K., and U.S., in addition to Japan. In the Japan version of “Women @ Work 2022: A Global Outlook”, we focus on the trends from 500 working women in Japan and compare them to the global numbers.


■Outstanding burnout especially for those working hours changed

In both Japan and global, more than half (Japan 57%, Global 53%) of women reported higher stress levels compared to last year. In addition, ratio of women feeling of burnout was higher in Japan compared to global average (Japan 50%, Global 46%). Especially women whose working hours changed since the pandemic, were more likely to feel stressed and burned out -than those working hours did not change or work part-time.

Figure 1. Which of the following statements are true?
Click image to view magnified version

Feeling burned out is leading cause for women considering resignation in both Japan and globally, suggesting that companies need to consider how to prevent resignation increase of women, especially women whose working hours have changed.

The percentage of women working in Japan who rated their mental health as “Extremely poor/poor” is also higher than that of global group (Japan 57%, Global 49%). However, women in Japan are less likely to discuss mental health challenges at work compared to global average. Data showed that women in Japan are less likely to “have taken time off work due to mental health challenges (31%)”, “feel comfortable disclosing mental health challenges as the reason for absence (29%)”, and “get adequate mental health support from employer (39%)”. It implies mental health issue may look nonexistent for others, while existent and hidden.

Figure 2. Which of these statements are true for you? (select all that apply)
Click image to view magnified version

■Increse in harassment and microaggressions, especially in hybrid work styles

The percentage of both Japan and global groups who answered "In the past year, I have experienced at least one non-inclusive behavior (such as harassment and/or microaggressions)" increased from last year, especially women in Japan showed significant increase from 45% to 64% (Global number from 52% to 59%). Microaggressions are daily language/behaviors based on bias and prejudice that unconsciously hurt people of a certain group and lead to exclusion at workplace, such as "not being invited to traditionally male-dominated activities", "given fewer opportunities to speak in meetings", and "being excluded from informal interactions or conversations".

Figure 3 In the past year, I have experienced at least one non-inclusive behavior  (either harassment or microaggressions)
Click image to view magnified version

Especially women in a hybrid working environment (a combination of remote work and on site work) were more likely to have experienced microaggressions in the past 12 months than women working in a fully remote work and/or fully on site environment. Even when flexible working styles are available, there seems to present a challenge upon creating an inclusive environment across different workstyles.

Figure 4. Have you experienced microaggression at work over the past 12 months?
Click image to view magnified version

■Flexible work systems only functions under inclusive culture and climate

The study shows only 5% of women globally and 3% in Japan (4% for both Global and Japan last year) work in organizations of inclusive culture, empowering their members and their Well-being. In addition, many women have experienced increased stress levels, harassment, and microaggressions over the past year. Changes in working hours and hybrid working styles are the examples of flexible responses in the workplace during the pandemic, but it does not complete without inclusive and trustful culture, including actions against stress and harrassment. Not only supporting working women, further empowerment of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion with consciouness of various unrecognized structural barriers are required. It means further actions from the management are needed, such as continuous learning opportunities for many men -including leaders, to raise awareness for ensuring “equity” and adjusting imbalances at all levels .

For details, please check the report from the link below.

The report is HERE.

Global report is HERE.

DEI Initiatives at Deloitte Tohmatsu Group

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) is one of the management strategies at Deloitte Tohmatsu Group, and key to continue contributing to clients and society through resilience during this disruptive time. We empower Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in order to create an environment where individual differences such as gender, nationality, culture, LGBT+, and disabilities can be leveraged as our source of strengths.

Diversity Equity & Inclusion of Deloitte Tohmatsu Group

* You can read Japan version’s 2021 Global Survey Women @ Work: A global outlook from HERE.

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