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IT pros stress is low, but so is job satisfaction

Sharon Florentine | June 9, 2016
Working in IT can be a stressful career, but a new survey shows the pressure's easing for many tech workers. But is career satisfaction dropping, too?

It's no secret that working IT is stressful, but a new survey from TEKsystems shows that the pressure may be easing for some IT professionals. The 2016 IT Stress and Pride survey from IT talent management and solutions company TEKsystems polled 241 IT workers at all experience levels in April of 2016, and found that just 14 percent of entry-to mid-level IT professionals and 18 percent of senior IT professionals consider the work they are currently doing to be the most stressful of their career.

The findings contrast sharply with the assumption that IT is one of the most stressful occupations, with a need to constantly remain available to managers and colleagues at all hours, and one that leaves little time for work-life balance and vacation, says TEKSystems research manager Jason Hayman.

"The conventional wisdom is that IT workers are super-stressed and pulling their hair out; that every IT department is charged to do more with less and that if you're in IT you're working 24/7/365. But then when we asked the question, we found quite the opposite is true, and that was surprising," Hayman says.

Time to unplug

This discrepancy could be explained by the fact that the vast majority of survey respondents say they get to unplug during vacation; 87 percent of entry-to-mid level IT pros and 78 percent of senior IT pros say they are not expected to be accessible during vacation, according to the survey.

Technology, and the blurring of lines between work and home life could also be a contributing factor to the low stress levels, Hayman says. Even though they're not expected to, 21 percent of entry-to-mid-level IT professionals and an equal number of senior IT professionals say they experience less stress when they stay in touch with work during vacation, according to the survey.

Thirty-seven percent of entry-to-mid-level IT professionals and 56 percent of senior IT professionals say they respond to critical or emergency requests from work while they're on vacation, which can help remove the stress and overload that can happen when you return from a vacation, Hayman says.

"I think it says a lot about how the lines between work and home get so blurred because of technology. You leave an office, but you're not necessarily unplugged. You can check in, you can make sure emergencies are handled, you can categorize and prioritize work for the following day or for when you return to work so that you're not overwhelmed. If that's not managed properly, it can surely lead to more stress, but it can also be a good thing," he says.


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