Business leaders say they are under more strain than a year ago, with stress levels surging more than one-third, according to a survey by Grant Thornton International.
Leading the "stress index" was Taiwan, where 69 percent of those polled said their anxiety rose last year. Over half of those surveyed in Hong Kong, Mexico, India, Japan and Russia said their stress level increased, according to the report by the world's fifth-largest accounting firm.
Business owners in every country surveyed said their stress levels rose last year. At the bottom of the table was Sweden, where 23 percent of owners said they felt more pressure, followed by the Netherlands (25) and Canada (26).
"Wherever you're doing business in the world, you are feeling the strain much more this year," said Andrew Godfrey, head of global and European services at Grant Thornton, in the report.
The survey of 6,300 companies in 24 countries was conducted for Grant Thornton by Experian Business Strategies and Wirthlin Worldwide. It was compiled late last year, before the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami killed almost 170,000 people in Indian Ocean nations, according to official figures.
Rising stress was felt in countries where sales and economies were booming, not just in those where they slowed.
In emerging economies such as India, South Africa and Russia, for example, 53 percent of business owners felt increased stress from rising competition, the report said. Almost half of those felt more stress because of rising customer expectations. The opposite was true of countries such as Japan, Mexico and Turkey.