IT professionals are 'more miserable than accountants'

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IT professionals are 'more miserable than accountants'

Bill Goodwin

IT professionals are among the most unhappy people at work, ahead of accountants, bankers, and social workers, research by examination board City and Guilds has revealed.

IT professionals rank themselves near the bottom of a list of 28 professions in City and Guild's Work Happiness Index.

Only mechanics, civil servants, lawyers and pharmacists were found to be less happy at work than IT professionals.

"It does not come as any great surprise. People who may be very good technically are not always the best people managers, and may not motivate and manage people as well as other professions," said Peter Skyte, national secretary at trade union Amicus.

IT professionals' biggest complaint was that they did not have enough social interaction with new people, with many "tied to their desks" in the IT department.

Thirty per cent of IT staff surveyed said their happiness at work was increased by meeting lots of new people. This compared with 73% of accountants, 83% of bankers and 56% of chartered engineers who said that meeting new people contributed to their happiness at work.

"Technical people do not necessarily meet people and, for some people, the long-hours culture does not always create a happy working environment," said Skyte.

Failure to feel appreciated was another factor in IT professionals' lower happiness rating, with only 53% of respondents saying they enjoyed their jobs because they were made to feel appreciated - the lowest rate among the professional groups surveyed.

IT professionals also rated their work/life balance lower than other professionals, averaging 4.1 on a scale of one to 10 - lower than lawyers, architects and accountants.

"Work/life balance is a relatively new term for an age old concern. Our figures show that often, in spite of rating their work as happy, far fewer workers in the UK consider themselves to have a good work/life balance," said Keith Brooker, director at City and Guilds.

Other factors contributing to IT professionals being unhappy at work were stress and remuneration. Thirty eight per cent of those surveyed felt they were underpaid, and 36% said stress made then unhappy - although this was lower than most other professions. 

"Happiness at work is something that deserves far more research attention than at present. These findings suggest that, for many people, interacting with others at work is a key factor in their happiness," said chartered psychologist Stephanie Morgan.

The happiest workers were clergy, florists, hairdressers, chartered engineers and disc jockeys, the survey of 1,300 staff revealed.


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