Stress in the IT industry – Report summary

To gain a broad overview and more precise information on how stress is impacting the IT industry, Spacelift has interviewed over 1000 IT and non-IT professionals. Based on prequalifying research before conducting the study, they focused more on DevOps since it was said to be among the most challenging IT areas to work in.

Overall, IT is less stressful than non-IT, where 55% report feeling stressed sometimes or very often (vs. 34% for IT). 

Education and Money

First, employees without degrees are more likely to experience stress in DevOps than in other IT positions (27% vs. 20%). Higher education may lessen IT-related stress.

Second, 7.5% fewer IT professionals have DevOps graduate degrees. DevOps with a graduate degree are the most stressed, scoring 3.44 out of 5. IT workers (excluding DevOps) are the least stressed (3.04 out of 5). 

75% of DevOps engineers are pleased (or indifferent) with their salary, compared to 71% of IT workers. Interestingly, non-IT workers are happier with their pay than IT and DevOps workers (50% vs. 43%).

The lowest-earning DevOps engineers (under $100k) are 7% more stressed than other IT professionals. One method to alleviate DevOps stress is to pay them decently. 


DevOps engineers led the way in meeting their monthly goals. 65% said they seldom or never encountered task difficulty compared to non-IT and IT (34% & 61%). 

Spacelift’s poll found that 86% of DevOps engineers can choose when to take breaks. The same is true for 80% of IT pros and 77% of non-IT pros. 66% of DevOps engineers said they never or seldom work weekends. In comparison, just 25% of non-IT workers can fully enjoy their weekends; 52% of all IT professionals and 48% of non-DevOps IT professionals agreed.

DevOps managers are among the most stressed IT professionals. They’re 14% more stressed than DevOps specialists, which is natural as responsibilities grow. Also, DevOps managers are 21% more stressed than other IT managers. 

DevOps who confessed not being on top of things were 20% more worried than IT peers, according to our study. DevOps who claimed to have complete control over their jobs were 20% more stressed than the rest of IT. DevOps are more stressed regardless of how well they do their jobs. 

39% of DevOps engineers seldom or never consider switching jobs. It’s 43% for the overall IT industry and 26 % for the non-IT sector. 

Taking Time Off

DevOps are more stressed than other IT professionals; therefore, it’s no wonder they take the most vacation time. 72% of DevOps take more than nine days off each year, 16% points more than IT employees, and 37% points more than non-IT professionals. 

Also, DevOps take, on average, 14.2 days off, 37% more than other IT professionals. 

DevOps professionals who don’t take breaks are 35% more stressed than IT workers. DevOps engineers are more stressed than IT professionals, although over 70% have never missed work due to stress. 

55% of individuals surveyed in non-IT sectors skipped work due to stress, 32% in IT non-DevOps, and 31% in IT agreed. 

The excessive workload was rated the primary stressor by all the surveyed groups. 

Stress symptoms and copying

IT experts are most irritable when stressed. 55% of DevOps and 44% of IT reported irritation as their top stress symptom. Non-IT professionals suffer most from depression (44%). 

45% of IT and 44% of DevOps engineers don’t feel safe reporting stress to their employers. For the non-IT sector, it is 26%. DevOps engineers are the most likely not to know whether their company offers mental health help (29%). 20% of IT and 6% of non-IT respondents didn’t know whether their firms offered mental health help, whereas 43% and 61% worked in companies that did.

While music and exercise are the most common ways to relieve stress in IT and non-IT, 62% of DevOps use video games. DevOps appreciate outdoor activities 19% more than other groups, and they laugh or cry 7% points less often to cope with stress. 

On the other hand, almost 60% of DevOps self-criticize themselves to deal with stress.


IT professionals are less stressed than others. In the IT industry, heavy workloads and tight deadlines cause irritability and mood swings. Music, video games, and exercise are helping them relieve job-related stress.

DevOps are the only ones surveyed that placed “heavy workload” on par with “work interfering with personal or family time” as a cause of job-related stress, which suggests that they’re family-oriented.  

What can businesses do to support equality in the workplace? 

In the workplace, the term ‘equality’ can refer to the concept of treating all workers there on account of their qualifications, skills and performance rather than personal background.

Instilling equality both at the recruitment stage and during each worker’s employment journey with you can give rise to a more diverse workforce. Companies that successfully attract diverse talent garner 35% higher profits, according to one study mentioned by Business Advice.

So, what steps could you take to encourage equality — and, as a result, diversity?

Endeavour to prevent indirect discrimination 

While direct discrimination can be straightforward to watch out for, it’s a different situation with indirect discrimination. This is where someone enacts a working plan that, though perfectly serviceable in theory, actually disadvantages certain groups of people by accident.

Thrive Global cites the example that “working with personal protective equipment that is precisely designed for men when used by women can put them in danger as the sizes of the equipment may vary.”

Train staff in practices that encourage diversity and inclusion 

Many members of your staff could end up inadvertently violating principles of equality in your workplace if not familiarised beforehand with how to avoid doing so.

After all, for many of us, identifying and preventing forms of unconscious bias to which we may be prone can be tricky.

It’s up to you exactly how the training is delivered. You could opt for classroom sessions or instead make online e-learning courses available to your recruits.

Work to close — or compensate for — any gender pay gap 

The Startups website acknowledges that, though UK legislation has been introduced requiring companies with over 250 staff members to publish pay gap figures, there remain certain reasons why, in practice, women may continue to receive lower pay than men.

For example, women are often naturally drawn to lower-paying jobs and may need to work part-time to accommodate family responsibilities.

If many women at your firm are in the latter position, you could introduce group critical illness cover that can, circumstances permitting, financially support a female worker if their child falls ill.

Be careful what language you use 

You could have long underestimated the extent to which your choice of language influences how welcome people feel in your presence.

However, it isn’t just the words you vocalise that would warrant meticulous selection. You should, for example, make sure that your business documents are written in such a way that many different individuals would feel comfortable reading them.

Be conscious of religious occasions that are coming up 

Workers can hugely differ in their spiritual practices — and, consequently, the religious breaks and events they celebrate.

Therefore, you should be wary of celebrating only those religious occasions that are the best known in your country — Christmas being one good example in many Western countries.

If your workplace has a notice board that is often used for marking major occasions emerging on the horizon, this board can make an ideal place for you to draw attention to annual traditions that are unjustly overlooked.

HR Future Staff Writer

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