Subscribe to our cybersecurity newsletter for the latest information.You’ve probably heard the term “the great resignation.” Millions of people are leaving their jobs and fast. Resignations are reportedly spiraling out of control, although they’re more prevalent in some sectors than others. According to new research, many tech and IT employees may be planning an exit. Tech and IT workers commonly contend with chronic burnout, limited career progression and unrealistic demands from employers.

A survey of 1,200 tech and IT workers shows that 72% intend to quit within a one-year timeframe. Data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the job exit rate in the US hit an all-time high in August, when more than 4.3 million people left their jobs. Data from Bankrate suggests that roughly 50% of the US workforce intends to leave current positions within the next 12 months.

Why are employees leaving?

Ninety-seven percent of data engineers feel burnt out, according to a Wakefield Research survey of 600 data engineers. Here’s the why:

  • Relentless employer demands
  • Continual interruptions and disruptions to work-life balance
  • Ill-defined projects
  • “a steady stream of half-baked requests from stakeholders”

All of these elements contribute engineers’ dissatisfaction and yet, if the median annual wage for engineers is $91,000, which is substantially higher than the average American income, how bad could it be? Shouldn’t we just say “toughen up cupcake”?

It’s worse than we thought…

Of the 600 data engineers surveyed, 78% stated that they wished the job “came with a therapist” to help with stress management. Nearly 80% of respondents stated that they were considering a move to a different career altogether. The researchers who conducted the survey warned that burnout must become “every organization’s top priority” in order to retain top talent for the long-term.

“Data engineers work overtime to compensate for the gap between performance and expectations,” stated the researchers. “…Yesterday’s heroes are quickly forgotten when there is a new deliverable to meet. The long hours eventually lead to burnout, anxiety and even depression.”

Burnout is not the only reason for job exits…

Engineers who feel burnout are twice as likely to quit their jobs as non-stressed counterparts. However, burnout isn’t the only reason as to why people return their laptops and say goodbye to their colleagues. Limited career progression, lack of flexibility in regards to working hours, toxic work environments, and feeling undervalued or unappreciated are key reasons for exits among tech and IT employees.

Employee burnout, tech worker concept

Survey respondents also noted that they wished for increased talent development opportunities. Seventy-five percent of respondents indicated that their organization focused more heavily on new hires than on investing in existing employees.

Actionable steps to avoid losing your talent…

  1. Before you bust out the new hire ads, consider offering additional training opportunities for existing talent. If you’re in the cyber security field, Check Point’s new partnership with Cybrary can help you obtain quality resources for quickly upskilling your workforce. Get info here.
  2. Fifty-nine percent of human resources leaders would like to do more for employees’ mental health. However, they also say that company culture prevents changes. Consider working with your HR department and other stakeholders to rethink wellbeing strategies.
  3. Recognize your teams for jobs well-done. Non-monetary recognition of talent can impart self-value, making employees feel motivated and more satisfied.
  4. Recognize your labor shortage, if you have one. Some organizations are increasing wages and offering hiring bonuses to help keep overworked employees happy. Other organizations are hiring college students as a stop-gap measure.
  5. Finally, experts recommend privately asking your top talent about what they want, how they would like to grow in their careers and any circumstances that might prompt them to move on. Closely listening to top talent can provide insight into how to retain these individuals.

In summary

The writing was on the wall. The burnout, the stress…etc., have accumulated over years, if not decades, for some employees. Now, we’re losing workers with unprecedented speed. Where can your organization improve in meeting employee needs and business growth goals?

For more insights into burnout, check out Cyber Talk’s What’s the deal with CISO burnout? Discover more cutting-edge business and cyber security insights when you sign up for the Cyber Talk newsletter.