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April 24, 2024

Majority of global IT professionals report feeling burnout

Additional workloads amid increasing digital demands are adding mounting pressure on IT workers, with the function increasingly looking towards automation for respite.

By Lauren Hurrell

More than half of IT decision-makers report feeling overwhelmed by their daily workload, a new survey finds. The study, commissioned by GoTo and conducted by market research firm OnePoll, reported that 58% of IT decision-makers are experiencing burnout, with the highest percentage in India at 78%, followed by the UK (60%) and the US (53%).

Amid increased digital demands in a post-Covid, hybrid-working world, the IT workforce cited an increasing number of daily tasks. The survey highlighted that the average IT professional only felt able to offer support on 85% of the customer support tickets they receive. While half of the tickets were considered easy to resolve, nearly one-third (29%) were difficult to troubleshoot.

It professionals are not alone in feeling the effects of a dramatically altered working landscape. 2024’s inaugural Burnout Report from Mental Health UK reported a third of the UK workforce experiencing high or extreme levels of pressure and stress “always or often” in the workplace. One-in-five workers had been forced to take at least a day off due to poor mental health caused by pressure or stress in the last year. Failure to address the issue could result in the UK becoming a ‘burn-out nation’, the report cautioned,

Failure to address the issue could result in the UK becoming a ‘burn-out nation’, the Burnout Report from Mental Health UK finds.

The GoTo study, which surveyed 1,000 IT decision makers based in the US, 250 in the UK, and 250 in India between February and March this year, identified some hope among respondees that artificial intelligence (AI) was a possible balm. 92% said they would consider the use of AI beneficial for work. 94% also acknowledged they would be willing to delegate simple tasks to AI, while 73% would also be willing to delegate even complex tasks to the technology.

Four in five (83%) of workers believe it would be easy for them to offload their simpler tasks to AI, with the most commonly reported tasks IT teams are keen to offload to automation including monitoring network performance (44%), basic device troubleshooting (42%), and remediating basic problems (40%).

“Despite many feeling overwhelmed, we’re excited to see how IT decision-makers are seeing AI as a beneficial tool that they can use to make IT easier to manage,” said Olga Lagunova, chief product and technology officer at GoTo. “Many people see AI as this scary entity, capable of taking their jobs. But what this data tells us is that there are many people in this industry across the globe who see it as a way to make their own workloads easier.”

AI could help alleviate UK from becoming a burn-out nation

The survey results highlighted that 73% of IT teams are already using AI, while 61% of those who don’t plan to adopt AI tools in their organisation over the next year. Respondees reported that they would have more time in their role to focus on higher-priority tasks (48%), more efficient ticketing workflows (43%), and additional IT team responsibilities (41%), once they do so.

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With the help of AI alleviating the burden of managing tasks for IT teams, respondents said they would be able to spend more time improving IT infrastructure in their organisation (55%), focus on more difficult tickets (46%) or improve organisational security (42%). The latter was a priority for US respondents (44%), while many in the UK (36%) and India (48%) opted to allocate more time to focus on professional development. 93% of IT leaders said the potential of AI has prompted them to consider upskilling to leverage technology in their day-to-day lives.

“There’s no denying that there’s still a lot for us to learn about AI and what it can do,” added Olga Lagunova. “What’s important to keep in mind is how people in the IT industry are keeping themselves properly up to date and informed on the best practices of AI in their workflow. And we believe that it’s going well.”

IT workforce experiences increasingly demanding daily workloads

A 2023 IT Priorities report by GoTo identified the potential factors behind this increased IT workload. It cited solving issues remotely, with over 50% of help desk tickets requiring “support at a distance”; supporting personal devices such as smartphones, and ensuring they meet company security standards; and issues in navigating hybrid working, such as internet connectivity issues in remote working, and securing remote access to company applications or data.

It also highlighted the need for increased training to keep up to speed with developments in security protocols, new software, and technology, as well as an “always on” work culture where more workers might have questions or issues for IT on evenings and weekends, and a decreased IT team size due to the Great Resignation, which began around 2021 due to widespread dissatisfaction in employment.

Read more: UK government commits £1.1 billion to upskilling workforce in emerging technologies

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