Burnout Blues: Korn Ferry Survey Shows Professionals’ Stress Levels Skyrocketing

Los Angeles, Sept. 30, 2021 – If you are feeling anxious, stressed and burned out at work, you are not alone. In a new Korn Ferry survey, 89% of professionals say they are suffering from burnout, with more than a third (38%) saying they are burned out to a great extent.

The vast majority (81%) say they are more burned out now then they were at the start of the pandemic. The top reason they are feeling that way is an increased workload/not enough resources (64%) followed by responding to continual change (20%).

When asked to describe how they currently feel when they think about work, 70% say they are anxious and stressed. Only 11% say they are content or energized. That compares to just 27% saying they were anxious and stressed when thinking about work prior to the pandemic, and 63% saying they were content or energized pre-pandemic.

The survey shows that 66% of respondents say there is now more emphasis on employee wellbeing than pre-pandemic, with just 45% saying there is now a greater emphasis on leader wellbeing.

“As Covid cases continue to surge, many of us are being asked to do more with fewer resources and less help, and that’s taking a toll,” said Korn Ferry Senior Director and engagement specialist Mark Royal. “Leaders must not only work with their teams to help prioritize responsibilities, they also need to take care of themselves.”

About the survey: The Korn Ferry survey of 672 professionals took place in late September 2021.

When you think about work, what’s the best way to describe how you currently feel? 

Content                                                                       5%

Energized                                                                    6%

Bored                                                                          19%

Anxious/stressed                                                        70%

When you think about work, what’s the best way to describe how you felt pre-pandemic? 

Content                                                                       28%

Energized                                                                    35%

Bored                                                                          10%

Anxious/stressed                                                        27%

Do you feel you are suffering from burnout? 

Yes to a great extent                                                  38%

Yes to some extent                                                     51%

No                                                                               11%

Do you feel more burned out now or at the start of the pandemic and lockdowns? 

More burned out now                                                  81%

More burned out at start of pandemic                        19%

If you are suffering from burnout, what is the top reason? 

Responding to continual change                                20%

Worried about losing my job                                       4%

Increased workload/not enough resources                64%

Need more challenge                                                 11%

Fears over COVID-related health/lockdown issues   1%

Compared to pre-pandemic, how much emphasis is put on employee wellbeing at your organization?            

Much more emphasis                                                 12%                            

Somewhat more emphasis                                         54%

Somewhat less emphasis                                           21%

Much less emphasis                                                   13%

Compared to pre-pandemic, how much emphasis is placed on leaders’ wellbeing at your organization? 

Much more emphasis                                                 7%

Somewhat more emphasis                                         38%

Somewhat less emphasis                                           36%

Much less emphasis                                                   19%

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with our clients to design optimal organization structures, roles, and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward and motivate their workforce while developing professionals as they navigate and advance their careers.

Media Contact:

Tracy Kurschner



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