GFI survey reveals over two-thirds of UK IT administrators have considered switching careers due to job stress

January 02, 2013 - 12:00

GFI survey reveals over two-thirds of UK IT administrators have considered switching careers due to job stress


One third of IT admins work 10 or more hours overtime a week on average

GFI® Software today announced the results of its new IT Admin Stress Survey, which found that 69% of IT administrators have considered switching careers due to job stress. Dealing with managers, end users, and tight deadlines were cited as the biggest contributors to work-related stress. Survey results also revealed that IT professionals tend to work long unpaid overtime hours, with 34% contributing the equivalent of 12 additional weeks per year in overtime.

The independent blind survey of 201 IT administrators in UK organisations with between 10 and 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:

·        69% of all IT administrators surveyed consider their job stressful.

·        In addition, 69% of IT administrators consider switching careers on either an occasional (38%) or regular (31%) basis due to job stress.

·        Two thirds (66%) of respondents consider themselves either just as stressed as or the most stressed compared to others in their social circle.

·        While just over half (56%) of IT admins at companies with between 10 and 49 employees say their jobs are stressful, that number skyrockets to 84% 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 (36%), users (21%) and tight deadlines (15%).

·        IT admins in Yorkshire are the most stressed in the country (85%). Admins in Northern Ireland are the least stressed (25%).

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, and in many cases in excess of the legal maximum 48-hour working week set down in the EU Working Time Directive. More than one in three (34%) say they work 10 hours or more of overtime during an average week, equating to 12 extra weeks per year.

IT Jobs Affect Personal Lives

Just over 82% of respondents feel as though their job has impacted their personal life in some way. According to the survey results, respondents have:

·        Missed out on social functions (42%)

·        Missed time with their kids (36%)

·        Cancelled commitments to friends and family due to work (32%)

·        Lost sleep over work (31%)

·        Work has strained or ended a relationship with a close friend or loved one (20%)

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

·        29% say they have experienced stress-related health issues such as high blood pressure

·        More than  16% say they don’t feel great physically

“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 that IT staff are 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.”

Regional Statistics

·        Managers in London-based offices cause the most stress for IT Admins (56%), while users in Scotland are the most stressful to deal with (42%).

·        Admins in the North East are under the most stress caused by a lack of IT budget (29%).

·        Yorkshire suffers the most from overwork, with 54.5% of those surveyed in the area citing understaffing in IT as a key reason for stress.

·        Respondents in the South West (44%) have the highest-level of stress-related health issues. Users in the North East have the least (10%).

·        IT admins in London work an average of 7.6 hours overtime a week, compared to the Midlands, who work an average of 4.5 hours.

·        78% of IT staff surveyed in the South West are actively considering changing careers, followed by London (75%) and Yorkshire and the North East (70% each). Admins in Northern Ireland are the most content, with only 50% considering a career change, followed by Wales (57%).

End users do the strangest things

IT admins derive a substantial amount of their stress from support calls from users. This is because many of the calls they field are due to an apparent lack of basic computer knowledge. Respondents indicated that they had received IT support calls from users who did not realise 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: http://www.gfi.com/blog/survey-5-most-ridiculous-things-it-admins-have-seen-business-users-do-infographic

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 organisations on a global scale. The company has offices in the United States, United Kingdom, 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.