April 24, 2014 - 12:00
US IT Staff Head for the Exits Due to Work-Related Stress
Independent research commissioned by GFI Software shows IT personnel suffer startling levels of workplace stress, driving more than ever to look for a change of employment
GFI Software® today announced the findings of its third annual IT Admin Stress Survey, which revealed that 79% of IT staff are actively considering leaving their current role due to job-related stress, despite apparent economic and staffing improvements in many businesses across the country. For the third year running, stress is contributing to job dissatisfaction among IT professionals. Despite improvements in the economy reducing budget pressures, the level of job dissatisfaction among US IT professionals has increased since 2013, when just 57% of those surveyed reported they were actively looking to leave their current role.
The blind, independent study was conducted by Opinion Matters among 200 US IT administrators in companies of 10 or more people. 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 that of friends and family and how it affects their personal and professional lives.
Key findings from the survey include:
· 77% of all US IT staff surveyed consider their job stressful – an increase of 12% over 2013
· More than one third (38%) have missed social functions due to overrunning issues at work
· 35% also report missing time with their families due to work demands on their personal time
· One third of IT staff regularly lose sleep over work pressures
· One quarter have suffered stress-related illness, while a further 17% complain of feeling in poor physical condition due to work demands, a small improvement over 2013 (20%)
· 24% of respondents have had a relationship severely damaged or fail due to their job
· 30% feel they are the most stressed person in their social or family group
Management was singled out as the biggest contributing factor to workplace stress; with more than one third (36%) of the sample of IT professionals surveyed citing it as the biggest source of stress. An additional 34% cited a lack of budget and staff to get the job done, despite the perceived improvement in the US job market.
Long Hours, Little Pay
Once again, IT staff frequently find themselves working additional hours to get the job done, often without additional pay. On average, the IT workers surveyed would work eight and a half hours a week over and above their stated working hours, with 23% of the survey sample working between eight and 12 hours of unpaid overtime each week.
Bigger is Better
While the overall number of IT staff looking to change roles is already high, in organizations with between 250-500 staff it is particularly high (83%) Meanwhile, IT admins at the smallest companies with between 10 and 49 staff are not much more content, with almost 71% looking for a new role. Surprisingly, employees in the largest companies – those with more than 500 employees – are the most content, with just shy of 60% looking for an exit.
“IT is renowned for being one of the most stressful white-collar jobs to undertake, now more so than ever given the critical role IT plays in everything from ecommerce to facilities management,” said Sergio Galindo, general manager of the Infrastructure Business Unit at GFI Software. “There is a lot that organizations can do to reduce the burden – and with it the stress levels – carried by IT staff. Providing realistic IT budgets and staffing levels helps a lot, but there are productivity changes that can also significantly de-stress the IT department, such as investing in technology to automate personnel-intensive activities like deploying software updates and managing sprawling Wi-Fi networks and the myriad of mobile devices that users are bringing to work.”
· IT staff in the West and Southwest are the most stressed group, with 80% of those surveyed in each region saying their work was overtly stressful. Staff in the Northeast are the least stressed, with only two thirds of respondents declaring themselves stressed at work.
· San Jose and Denver are the cities with the most stressed IT staff – with 100% of IT professionals there stressed at work.
· In the Northeast, 43% of staff surveyed said management were the biggest cause of stress at work, the highest of all the regions and above the national average.
· IT departments in the Northeast are also the most concerned about the lack of budget for IT activities (21%).
· Nearly half (47%) of IT personnel in the West are the most stressed of all the people in their social circle.
· Over a third (37%) of IT staff in the West have also experienced stress-related health issues such as high blood pressure.
Rosier Outlook Overseas
This year’s figures are in stark contrast to the UK, where the same survey revealed noticeably lower levels of stress, and lower levels of job dissatisfaction among the UK’s IT professionals. Just over two thirds of UK IT staff (68%) are looking for a new role, broadly in line with the same number that report their current role to be stressful. However, management is a significantly bigger influence on UK IT stress levels, with 50% of those surveyed singling it out as the root cause of their work-related stress, far higher than the US.
IT Staff Hear the Darnedest Things
In an effort to understand what it is that causes such high levels of stress among IT staff, they were queried about the most bizarre, silly or otherwise frustrating thing that management or end users had asked of them. Mind-boggling responses included:
· “I asked a user to open Windows – they took it literally”
· “Having to repair and replace damaged machines because users keep hitting them”
· “A user jacked up his car and used his company laptop as a wheel support. It did not work”
· “User complained there was a ghost in her PC when IT staff remote connected to it to resolve an issue”
· For the third year running, the most popular complaint to IT by users was: “User complained they could not print/computer was not working, but failed to notice that the printer/computer in question wasn't even switched on”
About GFI Software
GFI Software™ develops quality IT solutions for small to mid-sized businesses with generally up to 1,000 users. GFI® offers two main technology solutions: GFI MAX™, which enables managed service providers (MSPs) to deliver superior services to their customers; and GFI Cloud™, which empowers companies with their own internal IT teams to manage and maintain their networks via the cloud. Serving an expanding customer base of more than 200,000 companies, GFI’s product line also includes collaboration, network security, anti-spam, patch management, faxing, mail archiving and web monitoring. GFI is a channel-focused company with thousands of partners throughout the world. The company has received numerous awards and industry accolades, and is a longtime Microsoft® Gold ISV Partner.