40% of the country's 52,000 project management professionals have suffered from prolonged stress due to their work, while more than 80% have had no formal training in how to manage mental health issues.

Those are among the findings of a study by the project management conference, PM Summit, which takes place in Dublin next week.

The research also identifies the execution stage as the most demanding project phase - typically the longest stage and most demanding phase of a project.

The study showed that people working in IT suffer most from stress, with 44% reporting that they have suffered from prolonged work stress.

They are followed by people working in the architectural, engineering and construction field where 39% report this. 

It also noted that the stress levels of project managers in operations and logistics were low, with only 5% revealing that they have suffered prolonged stress.

Meanwhile, project managers aged 35-55 are the most stressed with 43% saying they have suffered with prolonged stress. 

PM Summit said this contrasts with project managers aged over 55, of whom less than a third reported prolonged work-related stress.

"When it comes to managing mental health issues within their project team, training is critical and this is borne out in the survey, which found that the least stressed category of project managers - the over 55s - have received the most training, with 31% of these having received some formal training, " commented Raymond Poole, CEO of PM Summit. 

"This contrasts with the biggest sufferers of prolonged stress - the 35-55 year olds - of whom only 17% have received some formal training," he added.