Job Burnout in ITMarch 30, 2019May 25, 2019 - by Helen - Leave a Comment We’ve found out that more than 50% of IT specialists have experienced job burnout, half of them having gone through it 2 times or even more. For a hirer, the fact that their workers are in burnout has quite a serious result: up to 20% of the workers are regularly in the same state, and only 25% keep the present job. Thus, most workers fulfil their duties ineffectively and disturb others. Besides, investments are in constant need for recruitment and new employees to replace the burnouts. If an employer knows how to handle burnout, they will be able to save a lot of money and spirit for the company. What is Job Burnout? For a start, let’s remind the definition of the job burnout. This definition was given to all who started the survey to ask the following questions according to the common understanding. Job burnout is a total or partial loss of effectiveness at workspace because of an accelerating emotional and physical exhaustion. It is evident by an increasing indifference to work functions and to the events happening around, the growth of negativism in respect of both clients and co-workers, the feeling of own professional failure and job dissatisfaction. According to phycologists, job burnout is a defense mechanism turning the body, whose resources are exhausted to endure continuous stress situations, into the low power mode. Who was Questioned? There were about 2500 people asked and, as per socio-demographics, being like those surveyed in our previous research: 50% of respondents were developers, 80% – men, 80% – from 21 to 35 years-old, 25% were from New York. Experience of job burnout To begin with, we found out how many IT specialists had faced job burnout. To obtain a more precise picture, we specified the question: how strong was the burnout? Did weekends or a vacation help to gain strength or was even the vacation not enough? We decided to consider as a job burnout being discussed by the therapists only such an experience in which even the vacation was not enough to gain strength. And in all the following charts we name such a condition a strong burnout and analyze the answers of those respondents who have experienced the same. Have you personally experienced job burnout? We have got quite a big number: more than 50% of the respondents said yes, with more than 60% among women. If we divide the respondents by age, we will get a more interesting picture. Among the burning-out men there are about 50-60% and among women – 70%, both aged 25-40. Are these numbers big? To answer this question, we will compare the IT industry with other fields of human activity. As we’ve learnt from the private resources, according to the data from 2018, the most inclined to the burnout specialists are: female professors (where 71% went through the same), next goes scrub nurses (60%), then, social female assistants (where there were 55%). It is obvious that women from the IT field can, in terms of burnout frequency, compete with such traditionally emotionally-charged fields as teaching and medicine. Did you experience such a strong job burnout that even vacation was not enough to overcome it? Let’s see what are the most common factors that influence on the job burnout frequency. We asked the following question: how much time were you working at this company at the time of the strongest burnout? What was the type and form of business in this company? Where did you leave and how old were you? As we questioned only those who had at least experienced some job burnout, we examined the burnout frequency not among all the respondents, but only among those who went through such condition (75%). Thus, do not look at the absolute burnout numbers but compare them with each other. Among all who had experienced the burnout there were 70% who had faced the strong one. The longer a specialist works in one company, the higher the possibility of a strong burnout. We see that a breaking point happens during the second year at work. The burnout frequency practically does not depend on the company type of business. People working in consulting have a little higher possibly to burn out. Most often burnouts happen in private business, less frequently – in public and own businesses, least of all – in freelance. There are more burnouts in New York and Los Angeles that in other US cities. When we were analyzing the burnout frequency by a current specialty, we found out that each specialty had workers of different ages. For example, the median age in management is 31, while in game development is 26. But as we have already seen, the burnout frequency depends on age a lot: people having lived more are more likely to burn out. That is why, measuring the burnout frequency by a specialty, we analyzed a narrow group aged from 25 to 35 to avoid age impact and to preserve specialty impact. And we got the following result: the riskiest burnout IT specialties were selling, management and marketing, and the least dangerous were HR, tech support and mobile application development. How many times did you face a strong job burnout? How frequent is a strong job burnout of those who have faced the same? It appeared that almost half of respondents had experienced it more than ones. What were the results of your attempts to overcome a strong job burnout? The most important question, according to the employer, is what is a risk of burning-out employees? According to the survey, 18% of respondents now face a strong burnout, thus they work ineffectively (indifferent to their duties, negative in the respect of their co-workers and clients, be professionally unfit).But the most unpleasant is that only 25% of those who have experienced a strong burnout keep their present job (there only 18% of such people among women). Thus, the employers have had to spend time and money to replace such workers by the new ones. Young people up to 20 are more inclined to keep the job in case of a strong burnout, for others the possibility of keeping the job is practically similar. An exception are people aged 31-35: at this period of life they are likely to leave the job. Burning-out people aged 36-40 most frequently than in other ages change their line of work after losing the job. The riskiest for losing the job specialties are marketing and analytics: nobody of the survey participants kept the job in these areas of specialty after a strong burnout. Next come sales and technical support: only approximately 1 in 10 of the respondents keep the job in these areas. An interesting observation: in sales more than a half of burnouts don’t only change the job but also the line of work. Most frequently people keep the job in the area of mobile software development: near 30%. Colleagues in burnout Problems of job burnout don’t end with an inefficient fulfilment of work duties and dismissals of burning-out workers. If somebody beside you experiences burnout, it also affects the overall productivity. Half of the respondents claimed that they had noticed their colleagues being burning out. 1 in 3 noted that it had affected their work. Signs of job burnout How to notice that you or your colleague are close to burnout and to take action in order to avoid it? Let’s then talk about the signs of burnout. They are the following groups: PhysiologicalEmotionalIntellectualBehaviorSocial What Physiological Signs Did You Spot in Yourself in Burnout? The main physiological sign of a strong burnout is a persistent feeling of tiredness and exhaustion: it was mentioned by almost all the respondents who had experienced burnout in their lives. Next come sleep disorders, headache, absence of sexual activity and change in appetite – signs spotted by from a third to a half of the respondents. On the chart we can see that women go through burnout more painfully than men, they are more frequently experiencing almost all the mentioned physiological signs. What Emotional Signs Did You Spot in Yourself in Burnout? The main emotional sign of burnout is a de-motivation and apathy – they were also mentioned by almost all the respondents. Then comes discontent and frustration in oneself, boredom and indifference, a sense of outstanding duty, irritability and aggressiveness, powerlessness: they were mentioned by more than a half of the respondents. Again, it is evident women suffer from burnout much more sensitively: all the above signs are mentioned by 60-80%. Which of the Following Intellectual Signs Did You Spot in Yourself in Burnout? The main intellectual sign of a strong burnout is attention and memory loss, inability to concentrate and take a decision: they were pointed by 80% of the respondents. 40-50% mentioned the following signs: disinterest to new ideas and alternative attitudes, persistent return to one and the same thought. As per intellectual signs, the results of men and women don’t differ. What Behavior Signs Did You Spot in Yourself in Burnout? The main behavior signs of a strong burnout are a desire to relax at work, simply a formal fulfilment of work and a long way to achieve goals: these signs were mentioned by 70% of the respondents. Then there is disruption of work hours, an increase in the number of mistakes, a feeling of time pressure and hyper responsibility, negative thinking about job prospects: from a third to a half of the respondents pointed these sings. Here, only half of signs are indicated more often by women than by men. Which of the Following Social Signs Did You Spot in Yourself in Burnout? The main social signs of a strong burnout are little of social activity and loss of interest to leisure-time activities: these signs were pointed by two-thirds of the respondents. Then there is keeping a distance from colleagues, an increase in the number of conflicts, a feeling of isolation and a lack of support from acquaintances and relatives: from a third to a half spotted these signs. Women spotted these signs slightly more often than men. Let’s sum up here and list the main signs of job burnout occurring in the vast majority of people: Physiology: a persistent feeling of tiredness and exhaustion, sleep disorders, headaches.Emotions: de-motivation and apathy, discontent and frustration in oneself, increasing boredom and apathy.Intellect: attention and memory loss, inability to concentrate and take a decision. Behavior: a desire to relax at work, simply a formal fulfilment of work and a long way to achieve goals. Social environment: a decrease in social activity and loss of interest to leisure-time activities. Women experience burnout significantly stronger than men, especially it is noticeable by physiological and emotional signs. Probably, this can explain why women in general struggle with burnout more than men (63% against 53%). Causes of Job Burnout It is known that to defeat a disease it is necessary to cure not its symptoms but its causes. Let’s find out what leads to job burnout. All the causes can be distributed into 3 groups: Chronic emotional strain of activities Destabilizing activity arrangementCareer development problems and poor working conditions. According to You, What Emotional Tensions Led You to Burnout? Most of all, a difficult work contingent, an unmanageable and intensive communication are the emotional causes of burnout: from a third to a half pointed it out. Women point out all the mentioned causes slightly more often than men and they are more sensible to intensive communication. It is interesting to observe what emotional causes are pointed out more often than others in various IT specialties. We see that in sales and HR the top is intensive communication, in content and marketing – unmanageable communication, in mobile and game software development – interpersonal disputes. According to You, What Activity Destabilizers Led You to Burnout? Most of all, the operational causes of job burnout are unclear goals, ambiguity in the division of labour and lack of team work: from a half to a two-third of the respondents pointed out these causes. Women practically do not differ from men by pointing out whatever cause. But it is obvious that women are noticeably more sensible to excessive workload and less sensible to routine. Distributing by various specialties, we see that in sales, HR and content such operational causes as the lack of coordination take the leading position, in management, marketing and mobile software development it is monotonous work, in game software development – redundant workload. What Do You Think, What Poor Conditions at Work Led You to Burnout? Most of all, such poor working conditions as insufficient phycological and material reward are the causes of job burnout: more than a half points out it. Then comes lack of leisure time, disagreement with company values, insufficient management support, high expectations from the results of one’s work: from a third to a half of the respondents point out these causes. It is obvious that women are much more sensible than men to the phycological reward and management support and slightly less sensible to the disagreement with the company values. Analyzing various specialties, we see that in administration, HR and tech support, the highest problem is with the material underestimation of employees’ contribution; in marketing, design, content and management, there is a great problem with management support; in mobile development, the future outcomes of one’s work are more often overestimated. Let’s bring the following result and list the main causes of job burnout, occurring in most people: Emotional causes: a difficult work contingent, an unmanageable and intensive communication. Operational causes: unclear goals and division of labour and lack of team work.Poor work conditions: insufficient phycological and material reward (the first is a little more important than the second). Women are noticeably more sensible than men to intensive communication, excessive workload, phycological reward and management support, and less sensible to routine and disagreement with the company values. In various IT specialties, the causes leading to burnout is a bit different and is directly connected to the specifics of working practice. Handling Job Burnout At last, let’s find out how IT specialists handle job burnout, what steps they take, which of these steps are the most popular and the most efficient. People who can help us to handle it are: We ourselvesAcquaintances EmployerSpecialists Who Helped You to Overcome a Strong Job Burnout? Every therapist will tell you that it is only you who can help: you can be referred, given help, motivated, but you always take the steps by your own, nobody will be able to do it for you. The results of our survey also prove it: almost all pointed out that they tried to handle burnout by their own. More than a half also pointed that they were helped by acquaintances, 1 in 6 said that was helped by an employer or specialists. Women more often rely on external help and ask for help from acquaintances and specialists than men. But whose help was better? If we take retention of a position after a strong burnout for success, we will get the following result. Those who kept the job after burnout pointed out at least 2 times more that they were helped by an employer, then come those who were helped by the specialists and after all – by acquaintances. What Did You Exactly to Overcome a Strong Burnout? The most common method to overcome a strong burnout is to normalize sleeping and resting schedule: more than a half of the respondents pointed out it. It is very interesting that women also equally pointed out phycological self-control as a way out. It differs them very much from men. Then both sexes choose walks in the open air, self-development, good nutrition, self-control, hobbies and sport: from a third to a half of the respondents used these methods. What Hobbies Did You Try While Overcoming Burnout? It was interesting to find out what hobbies tried those who were handling burnout. It turned out that, most of all, IT specialists started playing music. Then there was sport, handmade, painting, outdoor activities and, to our surprise, again software engineering! Who Exactly of the Specialists Helped You to Overcome Job Burnout? From those who pointed out help from specialists, the majority turned to phycologists: a two-third mentioned this. Applying to specialists, women in comparison with men more frequently prefer phycological assistance and less frequently – medical and coaching. What Did the Employer to Help You? Among those who pointed help from the employer, more often respondents name best division of responsibilities and conflict resolution: 1 in 3 pointed out these methods. Then comes job simplification and team work. All other methods are represented quite rarely, by less than 10%. In general, the actions from an employer mentioned more often than others have something in common with the main occupational destabilizers leading to burnout, as we’ve seen earlier. Let’s summarize and list out the main methods of overcoming job burnout used more frequently than others: Self-help: to normalize sleeping and resting schedule, phycological self-control (especially for women), walks in the open air, self-development, good nutrition and hobbies (music, handmade, painting, outdoor activities, sport). Help from acquaintances: turn to your beloved ones and friends.Help from an employer: it’s better to distribute the responsibility, to simplify job, to develop team building and to resolve conflicts. Handling burnout, women are more inclined to work on their state of mind, while men – on their body. If employers want to reduce the possibility of losing their employees, they should be able to eliminate causes of burnout making their company and work conditions the best. If burnout has happened to somebody, they should try to help the employee, because most of all keep the job those who don’t only control themselves but also get help from the employer. A minimum help from the employer is, to our mind, that they will say to their employees about possible negative outcome. Thus, at the critical moment the employee will be able understand what is happening to him and won’t be afraid to promptly seek help from both the employer and the psychologist. Take care of yourself and be careful.