IT employees are more at risk of burnout from overwork than people employed in most other professions, according to a survey from recruitment company Hudson UK.
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Some 59% of people working in the IT departments of companies and technology suppliers said that they had experienced at least one symptom of burnout in the last six months. Of those working in the public sector, 63% reported one or more symptoms of overwork.
This compares to 52% of financial services employees and 58% of retail workers reporting burnout symptoms.
Hudson UK surveyed 501 employees and 505 employers from across the economy to discover whether employers’ perceptions of burnout differed from employees’ experiences of burnout.
IT employees rated increased competition and the need for services to be available 24 hours a day for seven days a week as more likely to cause burnout than their employers did.
Employers were more likely to identify the proliferation of mobile devices, such as Blackberrys, as a cause of burnout.
While 93% of employers believed burnout was a real problem in workplaces, only 24% said that it existed within their own businesses. By contrast, 59% of employees said staff in their companies suffered from burnout.
Hudson UK’s director of technology, Paul Taylor, said, “I think most employers are in denial.”
A lot of the pressure that is specific to IT staff, he added, is down to “return on investment: that constant pressure on getting the job done on time”.
IT staff, however, were the least likely to leave their jobs as a consequence of burnout. Only 7% of employers had lost one or more IT employees to burnout compared with 15% of employers in the retail sector and 22% in both the financial services industry and the public sector.
Causes of burnout
Increased pace of business 78% 79%
Increased competition 69% 81%
Less people to do the same
amount of work 65% 72%
Requirement for 24/7 availability 61% 77%
Use of fast-response technology 74% 56%
Worries about problems occurring
during holidays 54% 53%
Globalisation of working practices 44% 53%
Others’ use of flexible working 19% 40%