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IBOS: Filipino biz owners, 3rd most stressed

IBOS: Filipino biz owners, 3rd most stressed

by Marianne Go

Filipino business owners have the third highest stress levels worldwide, according to a survey released by Punongbayan & Araullo (P&A), a member of Grant Thornton International. More than 7,000 business owners in 30 countries participated in Grant Thornton's 2006 International Business Owners Survey (IBOS).

The survey showed that 57 percent of respondents experienced higher stress in 2005 compared to 39 percent in 2004. In the Philippines, 76 percent of business owners reported an increase in stess levels compared to just 53 percent in 2004. For the second year in a row, Taiwan reported the most stressed out business owners with nine out of ten reporting an increase in stress. Mainland China came in close second with 87 percent.

According to P&A chairman and CEO Ben Punongbayan, "stress levels continue to climb around the world, and when you look at the reason behind this, you'll see that it's a double-edged sword."

Punongbayan added that "executives feel the stress whether economic activity is picking up or slowing down in their respective countries. They feel the pressure of generating business amidst a slump and, on the other end of the spectrum, they also feel the pressure of having to cope with fast-growing businesses and markets."

The research also showed a direct correlation between stress and the amount of holiday (including public holidays) taken by executives around the world. Majority of business leaders in East Asia suffered from a high stress increase in 2005, possibly as a result of the poor holiday allowance. Filipino business owners, on average, took only 12 days off last year, compared to executives from European countries who took an average of 22 days of vacation.

Not surprisingly, the least stressed business people this year are to be found in Europe.

An earlier survey of Grant Thornton, however, indicated the business owners are more optimistic this year of the economy's prospects compared to last year's outlook. The survey result indicated that business owners in the Philppines showed a positive 71 outlook this year, slightly higher than the positive 51 outlook last year.

The survey also showed that there is a marked shift in the mood of medium-sized businesses around the globe and a shift in optimism about the economy away from the robust performers of recent years such as the U.S. and the U.K.

[As published in the Philippine Star, February 17, 2006; also published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, March 10, 2006]