80% of Marketers Say They Are Overloaded and Understaffed

Infographic tallies the industry's top sources of stress

The corridors, cubicles and conference rooms of modern marketing can seem more like pressure cookers than ever before, with one in four practitioners reporting that they routinely feel "overly stressed" or even "stressed to the max" on the job.

That's according to a new study from Workfront, a Utah-based supplier of project management software, which recently polled more than 500 industry professionals to gauge their levels of stress and determine which factors contribute most to their anxiety.

In addition to the 25 percent of marketers who said they feel highly stressed, another 72 percent of respondents reported at least some level of tension at the office. Those numbers were "a little more negative than I anticipated," admits Joe Staples, CMO at Workfront.

So, what's causing such sturm und drang?

A whopping 80 percent of those surveyed said they feel overloaded and understaffed. Because of this, workflow suffers, with 36 percent reporting delayed management approvals that cause them to miss deadlines twice a week or more.

According to the study, leadership teams feel the most stress, followed by creative-service departments, operations and events employees, digital marketing units and PR/communications staff. Staples believes that senior managers reported feeling the highest levels of anxiety because they focus on so many different, fast-moving business elements, ranging from branding and content creation to sales and consumer satisfaction. Conversely, PR and communications pros feel comparatively less stress because "their jobs are much more narrowly focused," he said.

Naturally, Workfront says its Web-based platform, designed to facilitate project tracking and inter-office communications, can help. "There are technology tools that can alleviate a lot of these problems, but the vast majority of people don't take advantage of them," Staples says. "They rely on antiquated methods like email and hallway conversations" to transmit important information up and down the chain of command.

Intriguingly, 84 percent of respondents said they don't regret choosing marketing as a career path, despite the frequently torturous grind. "The enjoyable parts of the job tend to attract people that tend to like some of those stressful environments," Staples said. "There's an adrenaline rush that goes along with that."

Here's the infographic Workfront built from its survey results (click to enlarge):

@DaveGian davegia@hotmail.com David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.