Despite poor work-life balance, IT pros like their jobs: survey

Long hours? Likely. A healthy work-life balance? Probably not.

Despite the challenges of working in tech, most IT pros are satisfied with their demanding jobs, according to new survey data. Ninety-five percent are proud they chose IT as a career, and 81 percent would do it all over again given the chance, reports TEKsystems, which offers IT staffing and talent management services.

On the topic of long hours, respondents tended to fall into one of two extremes when it comes to companies’ expectations for being able to reach IT pros during a normal work week. At one extreme, 41 percent said they’re expected to be available around the clock, while at the other extreme, 38 percent indicated typical workday hours (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The remainder said they’re expected to be accessible from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (cited by 14 percent ) or 6 a.m. to midnight (cited by 7 percent).

The percentage of respondents who said they were expected to be available 24/7 was higher for senior-level IT pros (57 percent) than for entry- and mid-level IT pros (37 percent).

Many IT pros can’t even escape from work demands when they take a vacation. Among senior IT pros, 67 percent said they’re expected to be available during vacation. Conversely, 71 percent of entry- and mid-level respondents indicate that they’re not expected to be available during vacation.

TEKsystems also asked if companies make any extra effort to lessen IT’s workload – by bringing in temporary help, for example, or extending deadlines – during summertime, when staffing is lower because of vacations. More than 80 percent said no.

Across all levels of experience, IT workers said the two most stressful aspects of the profession are keeping up with technology and dealing with the impact on work-life balance. But respondents differed when it came to ranking which of those two challenges is more pressing. Senior-level IT professionals rate work-life balance as the top issue (33 percent), followed by technology (31 percent). Entry- and mid-level respondents rate technology first (31 percent) followed by work-life balance (27 percent).

Here are some other findings from the TEKsystems survey:

IT pride: 66 percent of respondents are proud of their career choice and current assignments, while 29 percent are proud of their IT career but not proud of their current role, assignments and responsibilities.

Off-duty efforts: When they’re with family, friends and acquaintances, 72 percent would voluntarily help with IT projects outside of work. The remaining 28 percent hide the fact that they work in IT so they won’t be asked to provide technical help.

Spreading the word: Despite the challenges, 81 percent of IT professionals would recommend an IT career to others.

“Even though IT professionals across the board, from entry to senior level, feel the stress of the job, they continue to be proud of their careers. When the demands of a job push beyond the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and require attention 24/7, it’s critical for organisations to manage their talent so they remain motivated and engaged,” said Rachel Russell, TEKsystems director, in a statement.

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