IT Pros in Smaller Companies Happier, Less Stressed at Work, Survey Finds

Don Tennant

Apparently, the adage that “money isn’t everything” is true, at least in the IT community. According to the results of a recent survey, while IT pros in larger companies are more likely than their counterparts in smaller companies to feel they’re being paid fairly, IT pros in smaller companies are more likely than their counterparts in larger companies to be happy at work.

The 2017 IT Job Satisfaction Survey was conducted last month by Spiceworks, an IT management software provider in Austin that also serves as a professional networking platform for the global IT community. It found that 66 percent of IT pros in companies with 99 or fewer employees reported being happy at work, compared to 55 percent of IT pros in companies with 1,000 or more employees. At the same time, the survey found that 54 percent of IT pros in those large companies reported that they believe they’re being paid fairly, compared to only 43 percent in small companies.

Another interesting factoid that came out of the survey is that there’s not necessarily an inverse relationship between happiness at work and the level of stress. The survey found that while individuals at the IT director level and above tend to be the happiest at work (70 percent, compared to 54 percent of IT managers and 64 percent of help desk technicians), they also tend to be the most likely to report being stressed at work (54 percent, compared to 44 percent of IT managers, and 21 percent of help desk technicians).

“Although IT directors are the most stressed, they might feel their work is more rewarding because they’re often calling the shots and growing the careers of others, which might offset any decline in overall happiness due to stress,” said Peter Tsai, IT analyst at Spiceworks, in a company statement. “Ultimately, it’s clear happiness in IT is driven by a variety of factors, and doesn’t hinge on one single variable like stress or money.”


Here are what the survey found to be the top drivers of happiness in the workplace among IT professionals:

  • Co-worker relationships: 61 percent
  • Annual pay: 53 percent
  • Stress level: 53 percent
  • Work hours: 39 percent
  • Vacation time: 21 percent
  • Ability to work remotely: 16 percent
  • Size of IT department: 9 percent
  • User tech-savviness: 8 percent
  • Company size: 5 percent
  • Job title: 3 percent

A contributing writer on IT management and career topics with IT Business Edge since 2009, Don Tennant began his technology journalism career in 1990 in Hong Kong, where he served as editor of the Hong Kong edition of Computerworld. After returning to the U.S. in 2000, he became Editor in Chief of the U.S. edition of Computerworld, and later assumed the editorial directorship of Computerworld and InfoWorld. Don was presented with the 2007 Timothy White Award for Editorial Integrity by American Business Media, and he is a recipient of the Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award for editorial excellence in news coverage. Follow him on Twitter @dontennant.


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