IT Worker Burnout on the Rise

A study conducted by a business computing instructor at the University of Winnipeg paints a disturbing picture of IT worker stress levels.

Initially targeted at Canadian IT professionals, Professor Eugene Kaluzniacky’s study expanded its subject base to assess the degree of stress that IT workers in North America are experiencing and to identify its cause.

“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.

He cited possible factors as being high performance requirements on the job, the speed of change and challenges associated with trying to keep up with the IT field. 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’s helped establish, located at http://www.ncf.ca/itwellness, 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.

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.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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