IT Professionals Less Accepting of Job Stress, Poll Finds

Nearly a quarter of IT pros experience less stress by staying in touch with work while away on vacation, according to a survey by TEKsystems.

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Less than one in five IT professionals consider the work they are doing currently to be the most stressful of their career, according to a TEKsystems survey of IT professionals.

Both entry- to mid-level IT professionals and senior IT professionals are less accepting of stress, with an increasing percentage indicating they would seek alternative employment or consider less compensation to escape stress, the survey found.

Nearly three-quarters of all IT professionals remain happy with their chosen career, with almost the same amount optimistic about the future of the IT jobs market, according to the survey. It also found about a quarter of respondents are dissatisfied with their current job. Less than half indicated they are involved with the most satisfying work of their career.

"It’s only in the last two years that we’ve seen things getting better, where if IT pros don’t like their current environment they have a healthy job market to create other options," TEKsystems research manager Jason Hayman told eWEEK. "Additionally, technology has become mission-critical, so when things don’t work—regardless of when it happens—there’s a huge urgency to get the problem fixed. Finally, when IT must conduct projects or upgrades, they typically have to do it in non-peak hours, requiring them to do it on weekends or at nights. All of these create the impression that IT is always on the job."

The survey included a new question this year to see whether IT pros experienced less stress by staying in touch with work while away on vacation.

The company wanted to see if staying in touch was alleviating stress levels and perhaps tipping the scales in IT pros’ favor when it comes to managing a healthy work/life balance.

Nearly a quarter (21 percent) of IT pros agreed that they experience less stress by staying in touch with work while away on vacation.

"This leads us to believe there is a connection between this and the fact that the No. 1 stressor identified by IT pros is keeping up with organizational requests and workload, so by staying in touch, they hope to mitigate the stress when they fully reengage," Hayman explained.

One-third or more of IT professionals indicated that organizational requests/workload was the top stressor. Keeping up with technology, which was the top stressor in 2015, ranks third this year.

"It will be interesting to see what happens as we go forward," Hayman said. "This year, keeping up with technology fell to third from first. So, our belief is that there has been a break from implementing new technologies and models, which was a priority as we came out of the recession, and now IT pros are focused on maintaining what they’ve implemented."