In early 2018, we launched a UK-wide campaign - Taking the Pulse of the IT Nation - specifically for Information Technology workers. Based on the information that was provided, we compiled a report looking at how stress might be impacting IT workers and the services they provide.
The idea behind this campaign was to take the pulse of IT workers around the country by asking participants to AGREE or DISAGREE with a number of statements, such as;
- I have enough resources to do my job well
- I often work more than 45 hours a week
- My salary package is fair for the work I am expected to do
- I feel supported and valued at work
More than 1,000 UK-based IT workers took part. We compiled all the anonymised data collected as part of our 2018 Taking the Pulse of the IT Nation campaign and found that almost half of IT workers feel stressed a lot of the time.
If so many of people responsible for our IT services, hardware, software and security are stressed out, should we not be concerned, particularly as organisations are so dependent on the proper running of their digital systems?
See how these answers compare from to the answers from non-stressed out staff in our Taking the Pulse of the Nation free report
- 59% work more than 45 hours a week, a 20% increase over the ONS’s stated national average of 37.1 hours, hinting at a chronic overworking problem in the sector
- 6 out of 10 lack 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 4 out of 10 think IT is a respected department in the organisation
“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, group CyberSecurity Director, 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.”
IT often represents the unsung heroes in a company. A VP of IT in a global tech firm once compared the department to the likes of dandruff shampoo. It was something along the lines of, ‘People never think about IT when everything runs smoothly. It’s when there is a problem that people panic and remember we exist.’
There is little doubt that the job for a typical IT worker in the UK has become much more complicated.
They have to manage all of the digital information that lands on the system. The end goal is always the same: make sure the data is stored and transferred securely to the right person(s), at the right time, accurately and quickly.
As the complexity of the IT role grows, what impact is this having on staff? Is stress taking its toll on our UK IT workforce?
“Sadly, the study’s findings won’t feel overly surprising to anyone working in IT today,” said Kate Wood, Cultural Director at Chess. “Of those employees citing regular stress at work, almost half claim they don’t feel supported in the role by senior managers, while sixty percent say they lack resources to do their jobs well. The best piece of advice for employers is to get to know your staff – it makes identifying early signs of stress and supporting your team much easier.”
Health Assured, the UK’s leading Employee Assistance Programme provider, has joined Chess’s call for employers to manage employees who routinely over-commit themselves more closely.
“From these results, we can see that IT workers need to proactively take steps to manage stress in the workplace, and that means firstly 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.”
This exercise helped up highlight what we feel is a growing problem. We need to look after the people who look after our systems.
For this campaign, Chess CyberSecurity reached out to all its IT contacts, including prospect and customers, for help in this research campaign. As part of this campaign, Chess promised to donate £1 for every entry received to the Princes' Trust. Together, we have raised £1,025 for the charity.
We have also selected the winners for the prize giveaway. We will be in touch soon!
Read Chess’s full report, Taking the Pulse of the IT Nation.