IT Pros: Not As Stressed As They Used To Be

By | April 01, 2013

Posted in: Network Security Trends

The number of IT professionals considering leaving their job due to workplace stress has declined from 67% last year to 57% in 2013, according to a recent survey.

That doesn't mean that life is simple for IT professionals -- far from it. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of all IT administrators surveyed still consider their job stressful (down only 4 percent from last year). And the hours are still long, with nearly one-third of those surveyed working more than eight hours of overtime each week in order to keep on top of their workload; the equivalent of working more than 10 weeks a year in overtime, according to the survey.

Phil Bousfield, GM of IT Operations at GFI Software, who conducted the second annual IT Administrator Stress Survey, said in a press statement that the increased importance of IT in the workplace is giving rise to this feeling of stress.

"Companies are more reliant than ever on IT innovation, uptime and speed of deployment, and thus, IT staff members are under extreme pressure to deliver for the benefit of the whole business," he said. "While it’s promising to see the survey results reflect a slight improvement in morale, it’s also concerning that more than half are still stressed to the point that they are actively considering leaving their current role."

Bousfield said in his statement that, for SMBs in particular, "the research is a stark reminder that IT staff need to be supported and given the right resources to do their job efficiently – and that management needs to be an enabler, not an obstacle for IT progress."

The numbers went down -- ever-so slightly -- across the board:

  • 21% of IT administrators have suffered stress-related health issues – such as high blood pressure – due to their work. This number actually slightly increased from 20% in 2012.

  • One in five respondents (20%) indicated they do not feel great physically as a result of stress, which is an improvement from last year when 22% said that was the case.

  • 34% of respondents have lost sleep due to work. This is an eight point drop from 42% last year.

  • Another 16% revealed they have experienced a strained or failed relationship due to work stress. 20% thought that was the case last year.

  • Nearly one-third of IT administrators (29%) have had to cancel commitments to family and friends due to work obligations. A decrease of six percentage points from last year.

  • More than one-third (36%) of respondents have missed social functions due to work issues. That number was 40% last year.

  • 31% of those surveyed have missed out on time with their children because of work demands. Again, this is a decrease from last year when 39% reported this.

  • 27% of respondents said their job doesn’t impact their personal life at all. However, last year, only 16% could say that.

GFI also broke down the findings by region. For IT pros in Austin, life is "better" with a survey leading 66 percent not forced to work overtime, while for those that ply their trade in Philly, nearly half of all respondents (47 percent) found themselves working past closing time.

Other regional findings include:

  • Respondents from the West region of the U.S. find their jobs more stressful than those in other regions, with more than three-quarters (76%) of IT administrators indicating their jobs are stressful. This is a major shift from 2012, when the Northeast was reportedly the most stressed region for IT managers (74% of them felt it) and the West was the second least-stressful region to work in.

  • The cities with the highest percentages of respondents who say they find their jobs stressful are: San Francisco (89%), Denver (80%) and Philadelphia (80%).

  • At least half of respondents in Columbus, OH (56%) and Detroit, MI (50%) say they do not have enough IT staff to get the job done.

  • At least one-fifth of respondents in Boston (29%), New York (20%) and Los Angeles (20%) say they do not have enough budget for IT upgrades and projects.

  • IT administrators in Boston report that they have the most stressful end users in the nation, with 43% indicating that the users they support are the biggest contributor of stress. The national average is 12%.

The IT Administrator Stress Survey is an independent blind survey of 207 IT administrators in U.S. organizations with more than 10 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.


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