English: This article reports on the relationship between workplace stress of quantity surveyors and job demand, control and support factors. Using an online quantitative survey, the perceptions of workplace stress of professional quantity surveyors in South Africa is sought. Particular focus is given to differences in gender, age and ethnicity. Job demand issues explored include working to tight deadlines, working long hours, the work/family balance, and a perceived need to work harder to ‘prove oneself’. Job control factors include control over the type of work assigned, the pace of work, the work environment, and the match between authority and responsibility. Job support factors include assistance and support received from line managers and colleagues. Organisational stressors, in the form of job prospects and the general work environment, are also examined.
Findings show that the majority of the respondents experience high levels of stress at work, with females reporting higher levels than males. Younger, more than older colleagues, experience workplace stress, although this may be explained by conditioning over time. The extent to which these professionals are able to control their job situations does not appear to have a major influence on stress. Tight deadlines, long working hours, and a work/family imbalance may play a bigger role. Respondents would appreciate having more time to do a better job. Employees generally do not expect managers and colleagues to consistently make their work easier, but they do believe that colleagues can be relied upon in times of difficulty.
Professional and employer organisations should pay closer attention to the issues concerning workplace stress and implement appropriate policies and measures to counter it. Further research will be undertaken to explore in more detail the relationships between stress and the type of work undertaken.