Seventy percent of China's urban white-collar workers put in more than ten hours a day on average and are denied holidays, according to a new survey reported in the Beijing Morning Post.
The academic heading the study has warned that once working overtime became customary, it could become a major public health issue and the cause of early deaths.
Xu Yan, a psychologist in charge of the survey, said when she started to study the subject of "job stress" three years ago, it was a relatively rare phenomenon. However, the number of professionals complaining of overwork and a lack of sleep had since soared in urban areas.
The study of professionals in major cities showed most white-collar workers are stressed at the thought of losing their jobs or being able to "survive" in the fierce employment market.
The survey was conducted by Beijing Normal University among workers in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, but the newspaper report did not mention the number of respondents.
"I've only had one day off during the week-long May Day holiday," said respondent Zhang Xinxin, a female office worker at a foreign-funded company. "I haven't been able to get home before 10:00 p.m. for the past three months.
"Even the taxi drivers know they can wait outside of my building at night to pick up people like me," Zhang added.