Only 23 percent of Swedish business leaders experienced themselves to be more stressed in November 2009 in comparison to a year before, in contrast to 76 percent in mainland China, according to the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR).
The report surveyed 7,400 privately-owned businesses in 36 countries in November 2009 and found that Chinese (76), Mexican (74), Turkish (72), Vietnamese (72) and Greek (68) business leaders experienced the highest levels of increased stress.
The cool Swedish business leaders were joined by the Danes (25), Finns (33), Australians (35) and Canadians (36) in enjoying the lowest levels of increased stress worldwide, with the global average being 56.
Business leaders were asked about the major causes of workplace stress. The most common cause was the economic climate with 38 percent, followed by pressure on cash flow (26), competitor activities (21), and heavy workload (19).
The report indicated that there was a link between GDP growth and stress levels with business leaders in many of the faster developing countries experiencing higher levels of increased stress. Although Ireland, Spain and Greece also rated highly on the tables.
The study also appeared to establish a link between holidays and stress with countries at the top of the stress league being those where business owners take fewer holiday days each year.
Typically business leaders in northern European countries take the greatest number of holiday days with the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Finland all taking between 22 and 24 days per annum with correspondingly relative low stress levels as a result. By contrast in Vietnam, rated third in the stress league, business owners take an average of only seven days of annual holiday.
Grant Thornton launched a major annual survey of the attitudes and expectations of small and medium-sized businesses in European countries in 1992, it was expanded to cover the global environment in 2003.