Winnipeg professor studying IT stress

The business computing instructor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba is trying to assess the degree of stress that information technology workers are experiencing and the contributing factors. The study was initially targeted at Canadian IT workers but Eugene Kaluzniacky is expanding his subject base to all of North America.

“There is reason to believe that the (information systems) professional today is significantly more at risk of serious burnout than his counterpart of 20 to 25 years ago,” Kaluzniacky said. Factors such as high performance requirements on the job, the speed of change and challenges associated with trying to keep up with the IT field all may be factors, he said.

But while there have been many general studies of stress, few have focused on stress in the IT field, Kaluzniacky said.

Kaluzniacky is using the Web site he helped establish, located at, to assist in gathering data. It includes a five-minute survey and a more detailed questionnaire that looks at stress levels, potential for burnout, deadlines, rapid change, absenteeism due to stress, management awareness of the problem and other factors.

As of press time, the site posted preliminary results based on 75 responses generated from the Ottawa-Carleton Region and received between Jan. 14 and 26. The survey shows that 29 per cent are close to burnout, and 57 per cent consider their job stressful.

Questions on the Web site include: to what degree are you motivated to work; how satisfied are you with your current position; how stressful is your current position; how committed are you to your employer; how much is your sense of worth as a person dependent on your job; and is it difficult to stop thinking about your job at the end of the day?

Kaluzniacky said he’s aware that Web survey takers may self-select and skew the results, but he thinks that may be a double-edged sword. “Some people who are stressed may be more likely to take the survey,” he said. “On the other hand, some people may feel too stressed to take the time to do the survey. So it evens out.”

Survey results will be periodically posted on the Web site, Kaluzniacky said.