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New research reveals telco and tech businesses have the unhappiest managers in UK

by Anthony Weaver

Bad news for IT & Telecoms firms

  • Around 28% of senior managers and executives (aged 40+) at IT & Telecoms firms say they are stuck in a rut “all the time”.  This is twice as high as the rest of the economy (14%) and much higher than other business sectors surveyed
  • It was the same outcome across other measures of severe dissatisfaction at work with   IT & Telecoms sector managers & executives reporting “Very often / all the time” feeling very demotivated (15%), low energy (14%), unhappy (17%) and trapped in their current job (20%), and don’t care about their work (14%).  These were all high compared to other sectors, often substantially more.
  • The harm is being felt by the people working for them, with 39% of IT & Telecoms employees with management roles reporting a boss who is often slow to make decisions, low energy (42%), not interested in change (38%), providing little leadership (40%), getting little work done (41%), very demotivating to the manager surveyed (41%) and generally serving his/her time (37%), demonstrating the impact miserable senior managers are having on their whole team.
  • The biggest reasons for dissatisfied and miserable managers staying put is the worry that their age will mean they won’t be considered for roles elsewhere (29%), the impact on family commitments (24%) the fear of the financial impact (also 24%).
  • 22% felt “I do not think my skills are up-to-date enough to move” (almost twice the 12% elsewhere)

Good news for IT & Telecoms firms

  • The results for firms in the IT & Telecoms sector were consistently the worst for any sector across a wide range of areas researched.  However, IT & Telecoms managers actually have a slightly more positive view of their boss than the typical business, 61% rating him/her as often / very often “all things considered… pretty good”.
  • 35% reported “I enjoy working here” and 29% were happy to stay at their current business until retirement

The good news for IT & Telecoms managers stuck in jobs they hate

  • For the 28% of middle and senior managers at IT & Telecoms businesses who feel they are consistently stuck in ruts, and the further 27% who often feel they are trapped and unhappy at their firm, there are plenty of ways to get out of their rut.
  • Many are reluctant to even discuss it with their spouse/partner and that is a key first step before deciding how to proceed and whether to raise it internally or seek external help.
  • 24% fear age discrimination will stop them getting a job elsewhere and around a quarter feared the financial risk of leaving.  While these are real concerns, they can be mitigated or overcome.

Kedge Martin, CEO of Rutbusters, said:

“Our research found a real malaise amongst many IT & Telecoms, with a massive 28% reporting they are stuck in a rut – about double the normal amount.

“Alarmingly, 14% of managers also said they rarely or never care about the work they do, which is much higher than elsewhere and should set alarm bells off about the impact of having so many senior people being so disinterested despite their important roles.

“Companies will considerably improve their overall performance by focusing on this and helping them either pep-up or push-off – something that will make all the people involved feel much happier, and probably their customers too!

“Many tech and IT firms have moved to remote and flexible working to make people happier in their jobs.  This won’t help with such dissatisfied employees as you end up with people who hate their job working in isolation at home, which won’t cure the problem and may well entrench it further.

“24% of middle and senior managers reporting that they felt their age stops them getting a job elsewhere shows that the fear of age discrimination is still an important concern for many, and it is worrying for employers that so many of their managers feel their skills are too out of date to be considered for a role elsewhere.

“A very important point from the research is that even very successful managers and executives can get stuck in demotivating and harmful ruts in their forties as well as their fifties. They get there often because the challenge has gone, and each year seems very much like the last.

“There is plenty of evidence that career-orientated achievers who become continually unfulfilled at work come to lack purpose in their life generally and fall into miserable ruts.  Mental health and well-being are high on many firms’ radars, but they often address it when it has become a major problem – for instance with counsellors when people go off sick with stress or, in extremis, after suicide.

“Allowing managers and their bosses to instigate reviews at an early stage can help address the problems and prevent people who have lost purpose from slipping into much more serious situations.

“It is worth noting that people who are passionate about their job can endure all sorts of pressures and long hours.  My experience is that stress becomes a problem only once they have lost purpose and fulfilment, and when this happens what they previously thrived on quickly becomes torture.”







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