GFI survey finds two-thirds of IT administrators in the US have considered switching careers due to job stress

April 19, 2012 - 12:00

One third of IT admins work an equivalent of 10 additional weeks per year in overtime hours

As part of National Stress Awareness Month, which kicked off on April 1, GFI® Software today announced the results of its new IT Admin Stress Survey, which found that 67% of IT administrators have considered switching careers due to job stress. Managers, users (employees), and tight deadlines were cited as the biggest job stressors. Survey results also revealed that IT professionals tend to work long overtime hours, with one third working the equivalent of 10 additional weeks per year.  

The independent blind survey, which polled 204 IT administrators in U.S. organizations ranging from 10 to more than 500 employees, was conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of GFI Software. The survey gauged respondents’ stress levels at work and revealed their opinions on their main stressors, as well as how their stress level compares to friends and family, and how it affects their personal and professional lives.

Key findings from the survey include:

·        Nearly 70% of all IT administrators surveyed consider their job stressful.

·        Greater than 67% of IT administrators consider switching careers on either an occasional (43%) or regular (25%) basis due to job stress.

·        72% of respondents consider themselves either just as stressed as or the most stressed compared to others in their social circle. 

·        While less than half (47%) of IT admins at companies with between 10 and 49 employees say their jobs are stressful, that number skyrockets to 83% when those at companies with between 50 and 99 employees are polled, representing the most stressed group in the respondent base.

·        The top three sources of stress for IT admins are: management (28%), tight deadlines (20%) and the users they support (18%).

·        IT admins in the Northeast are the most stressed in the country (74%). Midwesterners are the least stressed, with nearly two-thirds (64%) still saying their job is stressful.

In addition to the stressors themselves, IT admins also noted that they routinely put in many overtime hours beyond the traditional 40-hour work week. More than one in three (36%) say they work eight hours or more of overtime during an average week, which adds up to nearly 10 extra weeks per year.

IT Jobs Affect Personal Lives

Nearly 85% of respondents feel as though their job has impacted their personal life in some way. According to the survey results, respondents have:

·        Lost sleep over work (42%)

·        Missed out on social functions (40%)

·        Missed time with their kids (39%)

·        Canceled commitments to friends and family due to work (35%)

Additionally, many respondents say their job has even affected their health:

·        Nearly one in four (22%) say they don’t feel great physically

·        20% say they have experienced stress-related health issues such as high blood pressure

“IT is a critical component of a company’s success, yet many SMBs, particularly those with between 50 and 100 employees, are not equipping IT managers with the budget, staffing and resources they need to be effective,” said Phil Bousfield, general manager of GFI Software’s Infrastructure Business Unit. “Not only is this creating a high stress environment for IT admins to operate in, but as evidenced by the survey results, it’s also resulting in long overtime hours and impacting their professional and personal lives. SMBs need to take these findings as a wake-up call, and ensure their IT staff is supported, productive and armed with the tools they need to be successful. Doing so will deliver business value and help IT admins have a better work-life balance.”

End Users Do the Darnedest Things

IT admins derive much of their stress from support calls from users. This is because many of the calls they field are due to an apparent lack of the most basic computer knowledge. Respondents indicated that they had received IT support calls from users who did not realize their computers needed a power source in order to work, users who spilled liquids on their machines, and users who have knowingly downloaded the same piece of malware numerous times. For more detailed anecdotes, please visit GFI’s blog post on the topic here:

A copy of the full survey results is available upon request.    

About GFI
GFI Software provides web and mail security, archiving and fax, networking and security software and hosted IT solutions for small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) via an extensive global partner community. GFI products are available either as on-premise solutions, in the cloud or as a hybrid of both delivery models. With award-winning technology, a competitive pricing strategy, and a strong focus on the unique requirements of SMBs, GFI satisfies the IT needs of organizations on a global scale. The company has offices in the United States, UK, Austria, Australia, Malta, Hong Kong, Philippines and Romania, which together support hundreds of thousands of installations worldwide. GFI is a channel-focused company with thousands of partners throughout the world and is also a Microsoft Gold ISV Partner.