IT employees are more at risk of suffering burnout from overwork than people employed in most other professions, according to a survey from recruitment company Hudson UK.
Some 59% of people working in the IT departments of the user companies and technology suppliers surveyed said they had experienced at least one symptom of burnout in the past six months. Of those working in the public sector, 63% reported one or more symptoms of overwork.
This compares with 52% of financial services employees and 58% of retail workers reporting burnout symptoms.
Burnout differs from stress in that it causes people who have previously been highly committed to their work to become disillusioned, losing interest and motivation. Sufferers face physical, emotional and mental exhaustion, a sense of reduced personal achievement and a lack of concern for customers and clients.
Hudson UK surveyed 501 staff and 505 employers from a range of industries to discover whether employers' perceptions of burnout and its effects differed from the experiences of their employees.
IT employees rated increased competition and the need for services to be available around the clock 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 as a cause of burnout among theirstaff.
Although 93% of employers believed burnout was a problem in the workplace, only 24% said it existed in their own business. By contrast, 59% of employees said staff in their companies suffered from burnout.
Paul Taylor, Hudson UK's director of technology, said, "I think most employers are in denial."
A lot of the pressure that is specific to IT staff is down to "return on investment: that constant pressure on getting the job done on time", he added.
However, of those surveyed, IT staff 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 financial services and the public sector.