Four out of five Irish employees say their stress levels are on the rise, according to a survey conducted by Mercer Consultants.

The survey reveals that 82% of staff are facing increased personal stress, while 59% of people are worried about their ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle whilst holding down a job.

Over 50% are also concerned both about paying their bills and providing for their family if impacted by illness or death.

The research finds more than half of respondents feel their levels of motivation are suffering because of stress and a similar proportion of workers say the stress they are under is impacting on their health.

The survey also showed that stress levels in Ireland are higher than in the UK - 74% of UK respondents said they were facing increased stress at work, compared to 82% in Ireland.

Employers could do more to alleviate this, according to the Mercer study, as many of their staff say they would be under less stress if they were offered better advice on issues such as retirement and financial planning.

"Irish employees are clearly suffering from the burden of increased stress and worry that is damaging their ability to concentrate and deliver the best results for their employer," commented Niall O’Callaghan, a Partner at Mercer.

"Across all life stages and ages, employees’ personal worries about their health and financial security are having a dramatic effect on how they operate at work. If employees are worried, distracted, not as healthy as they could be, then they are not as engaged as they could be either. Enabling employees to address their concerns is in the interest of employers and employees," he added.

Mercer commissioned this research from RED C to understand ways in which companies could provide support that would help staff address the concerns raised and so improve productivity, morale and employee satisfaction.