How stressed is your job?

Workers in an office.
A new survey of IT workers found they feel stressed, over-worked and underpai

Workers in an office. A new survey of IT workers found they feel stressed, over-worked and underpaid - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Bury St Edmunds-based Chess Cybersecurity highlights the pressures on IT workers

Almost half of the UK IT workforce is overworked, underpaid and stressed out, a report reveals.

New research highlights the strain employers are placing on their IT teams as tech innovation and cybersecurity remain top priorities for businesses

A new study by Chess Cybersecurity, a Suffolk-based cybersecurity solutions consultancy, has revealed that 45% of IT workers are feeling the pressure of strained technology operations and suffer regular stress in their jobs.

With the threat of cybercrime increasing daily, and the demand for technological innovation featuring high on the list of board priorities, the IT team is essential to business success, placing a significant burden on employees to go above-and-beyond to meet organisational needs.

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Chess Cybersecurity launched a UK-wide study to assess the wellbeing of the IT workforce, with 1,025 IT workers revealing information about working practices, their perceived value, and resources.

The findings in Chess Cybersecurity’s report, How Stressed is IT?, focuses on the 45% of IT workers who indicated that they felt stressed a lot of time. The report highlights key differences between their views and those of IT workers who aren’t stressed.

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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. At Chess this is something we work hard on with our leaders and through a consistent cultural methodology and regular communication we believe we have a strategy to support all our IT teams so that they can support our customers.”

Chess is calling for organisations to consider the impact of work-related stress on their IT teams and take a holistic view of how to help employees take positive steps to reduce it. According to Chess, this is not simply a case of reducing working hours, but also improving internal awareness of stress and its impact on the employee’s mental health, behaviour and performance.

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.”

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