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Is IT work getting more stressful, or is it the Millennials?

Patrick Thibodeau | May 11, 2015
Some wonder whether generational differences are a contributor to stress levels.

Another possibility is that the end-user Millennials are increasing the stress levels for IT workers.

Users are increasingly sophisticated about technology, which is "especially true of Millennials," said Mitch Ellis, managing director of executive search firm Sanford Rose Associates in St. Louis. "They may not know how to develop and configure applications, but they are expert users and embrace rather than fear technology," he said.

Millennials "are no longer in awe of technology specialists and therefore demand higher service levels," Ellis said.

Ellis doesn't see clear evidence that stress in the IT workforce is reaching a crisis. The firm recruits CIOs and vice presidents in IT, so his view included that caveat.

But among those in leadership, there's been a demand for higher service levels and for IT leaders who can contribute to corporate strategy. "This cascades through the IT function and requires the entire IT team to become more sensitive to the demand of end users," he said.

Joe Silverman, who owns the New York City-based repair and IT services firm Computer Help in Manhattan, said his company has noticed that older techs, those ages 33 and up, are "definitely able to handle stress better than folks coming out of college." Many of his workers are older and have been with the company for 10 years or more.

"As a younger worker, we were more stressed on gaining approval from management, peers, and customers along with paving our own identities," Silverman said. "Once we knew our roles, we have been at peace with what we do and with any challenges that present stress to us," he said.


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