The UK’s IT workforce is ‘frustrated’

IT workers across the country are being are being left frustrated by their office colleagues and their lack of understanding of how basic tech issues are resolved, according to research.

The findings, which spoke to 1,000 IT workers and 1,000 UK office workers, highlighted a ‘knowledge gap’ between IT staff and their colleagues who rely upon their expertise to fix office tech problems. This is leading to tension and communication breakdowns in workplaces all across the UK.

The poll, commissioned by the jobs board Jobsite found that two-thirds (67%) of IT staff believe the average office worker doesn’t appreciate the complexity of their work, while three-quarters (75%) of IT professionals feel office workers fail to make an effort to educate themselves as to the critical role they play.

>See also: The digital age defined by I.T. department threatened by lack of ‘right skills’

A lack of understanding

Highlighting a lack of understanding from their colleagues, 50% of UK I.=T professionals say their work is ‘only noticed when something goes wrong’.

As such, IT departments across the country feel a lot of their best work is going unnoticed. This issue is made worse by a seeming ‘image problem’ IT departments face in the eyes of their office colleagues. The research found that 87% of office workers admit to having become ‘frustrated’ with their IT department at some point in their current role.

Over half of UK office workers (51%) feel their IT department work at a slower speed than the rest of the business. It is not all bad news for IT professionals however – 1 in 4 office workers say they have never had any frustrations dealing with their I.T team.

Similarly, 73% of I.T professionals feel they can raise issues with senior management confidently, meaning they feel they have a voice at the top table.

‘IT has crashed’

For IT professionals, these attitudes will be all the more galling given the basic lack of I.T understanding that UK office workers admit to. 85% of office workers admit they don’t fully understand the process of fixing basic IT issues. Indeed, crashing computers (51%), emails being down (44%) and being locked out of the system (41%) are the biggest tech issues office workers say they face.

>See also: The relationship between IT departments and their businesses

This compares to IT professionals, who need to think more broadly, with data leaks (24%) and server outages (24%) being their main cause for concern. It is clear office workers increasingly see the value of IT through their own individual needs rather the department’s contribution to the business. To try and educate their colleagues, 82% of I.T workers have tried at some stage to change the perception of I.T amongst their colleagues in the office.

Youthful enthusiasm?

The research also found that as IT professionals progress through their career, they feel office colleagues become less appreciative of the complexity of their work. 45% of I.T staff aged under-24 believe their office colleagues understand the complexity of their work, compared to just 26% aged between 45-54.

This could be attributed to the younger generation being digital natives, and therefore more likely to be comfortable with a broad range of technical challenges. However, it does also indicate a growing frustration amongst I.T professionals that seems to grow over time, which is why education is key.

Fiona Rigby, chief pokesperson at Jobsite, said the “research has highlighted friction between IT professionals and their office worker colleagues. At Jobsite, we are aware of the fundamental role IT and technology departments play across the UK economy. We are launching this campaign today to try and raise awareness of the critical role these workers play in driving UK businesses forward. By educating the average office worker to the range of skills IT departments bring to the table, we hope to help IT be viewed with greater prestige. To try and affect this change, we have created a light-hearted video and some useful tips for IT professionals that are available online.”

>See also: Why your IT department should aim to be ‘Switzerland’

Greater understanding in our cities

It appears that frustrated IT professionals looking to change roles may be able to seek solace in some of the UK’s biggest cities. For example the research found that office workers in Belfast are most likely to show appreciation for the hard work of their IT colleagues, with 56% saying they feel in safe hands.

Similarly, office workers in Cardiff are the least likely to be frustrated, with only 17% saying they get impatient with their IT department. IT professionals in London are most likely to feel empowered to challenge their colleagues on their outdated attitudes to tech and the role they play within the business.


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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