- IT employees fit 7.5 days work into working week
- Over a third of IT workers have seen workloads increase since last year
- Job cuts and lean team structures having main impact on employees
- One in two unable to switch off from work while on holiday
Employees in the IT industry are each fitting the equivalent of 7.5 work days into the working week, according to Randstad, the UK sector specialist recruiter.
In a survey of over 2,000 British employees[i], Randstad found that on average IT workers feel they currently have to perform the job of one and a half people. This means they are covering 50% more work than one person should be – the equivalent of fitting an extra two and a half work days into the working week. In comparison the average British professional feels they currently have to perform the job of 1.3 people meaning they are covering 30% more work than one person should be.
While a third of IT workers feel their workload is suitable for one person, more than one in four (26%) feel that in an ideal world their role would need one full time and one part-time member of staff. Nearly one in five (17%) believe their role needs two full-time people to manage the level of work while 14% feel their role really needs at least two full-time members of staff as well as an additional one part-time person.
Over a third (34.5%) of employees in the sector feel they are working harder now than they were twelve months ago while only one in five workers (19.5%) feel their workloads have eased over this period.
27% of all workers in the sector specify job cuts as one of the key contributors to their increased workload while another 27% said it was down to their organisation keeping teams lean during the economic recovery. One in every four (25%) IT employees feel their workloads have risen because of the need to do more to keep their job secure.
Mike Beresford, managing director of Randstad Technologies, said: “The IT industry is under immense pressure. With the economic outlook so uncertain it’s understandable that management are keeping workforces as lean as possible. Unfortunately, this isn’t a sustainable model.
“Making fewer people work harder can improve the bottom line initially, but in the long-run, spreading the workforce too thin leads to burnout, mistakes and lower productivity. Not something the sector needs at the moment.”
Workload taking its toll
The rise in workload is taking its toll on the IT workforce. One in five workers (22%) feel more stressed now than they did six months ago, a third (32%) said work is making them more tired than six months ago and one in ten (10%) have rows at home because of work worries or stress.
Holidays unable to ease pressure
Rising stress and work worries also mean that holidays are unable to provide suitable respite. Over half (56%) of IT employees don’t feel they can completely switch off from work when on holiday with one in five (21%) of workers stating they know that clearing the backlog of work from their time away will make them feel like they’ve had no break at all.
Mike Beresford adds: “Being able to take a break and switch off from work is vital for productivity but this year the holiday season has stretched IT sector to the limit. Balancing headcount costs and the risk of a burnt out workforce is difficult at the best of times but it is especially hard during August. Human error has been highlighted as a cause for delay or mistakes in a number of major IT systems failures recently. Contract IT labour can ensure projects remain on track and prevent increased workload for permanent staff returning from holiday without significantly increasing fixed costs or commercial risk.”
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[i] Research of 2001 consumers conducted by Canadean Research between 23rd and 30th July 2012 – further details available on request