IT workforce increasingly overworked and stressed out

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45% of IT workers are feeling the pressure of strained technology operations and suffer regular stress in their jobs, according to Chess Cybersecurity.

IT workforce stress

IT staff who said they were stressed out indicated the following:

  • 59% work more than 45 hours a week, 20% more than the ONS’s stated national average of 37.1 hours, hinting at a chronic overworking problem in the sector
  • Six out of 10 lack the resources to do their jobs well
  • Almost half say they do not have a good work/life balance
  • 53% feel underpaid for the contribution they make
  • Staff would clearly benefit from more support – only four out of 10 think IT is a respected department in the organisation.

“We were not surprised to hear that working in the IT industry can at times be increasingly stressful,” said Kate Wood, culture director, Chess. Of those employees who took the survey citing regular stress at work, almost half claim they don’t feel supported in the role by senior managers, and two thirds don’t have adequate resources to do their jobs well.”

“From these results, we can see that IT workers need to proactively take steps to manage stress in the workplace, and that means first understanding its causes and effects,” commented David Price, CEO, Health Assured. “We should provide employees and managers with training to identify and manage stress, and by actively supporting employees in the workplace, we can not only reduce workplace stress but also prevent consequential health issues.”

“Stress alone isn’t a mental condition that is classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010, but it can lead to further medical conditions that can fall within the definition of disability, such as depression, anxiety or heart disease. Proactively talking to employees with stress, and providing workplace support, will help ensure stress is managed before it progresses,” continued Price.

The research has shown a strong link between overworking and stress. There have been a number of academic findings published in the last 12 months highlighting the problem of overworking:

  • Australian National University found that working over 39 hours a week is a risk to wellbeing
  • Columbia University Medical Center linked office workers’ sedentary lifestyle to premature death
  • University College London linked overworking with cardiovascular problems
  • The Society for Occupational Medicine stated the number of hours people are required to work has a pervasive influence on mental as well as physical health.

“It is clearly detrimental to every employee’s wellbeing, not to mention the company’s own operations if key IT members are suffering from stress,” said Gavin Wood, cybersecurity director – group, Chess. “These employees are dealing with crucial aspects of the company’s IT systems, such as their security defences, every single day. Allowing these health issues to go unheeded could, therefore, come at a significant cost to the business, in addition to letting down the employees themselves.”