Main image of article Work Overload Isn't the Biggest Cause of Tech Worker Burnout

Burnout is a constant problem among tech pros. But what actually causes it? It’s not always related to hours worked, believe it or not: a variety of factors, including poor leadership and a company’s lack of strategic vision, can also contribute.

In past Dice Sentiment Reports, tech pros have cited burnout-related factors such as:

  • Workload
  • Excessive hours worked
  • Lack of recognition for work
  • Lack of challenges/monotony

Burnout also impacts every rank of the corporate hierarchy; according to a recent Gallup poll, managers are experiencing elevated rates of burnout. Symptoms of managerial burnout include:

  • Work disengagement
  • Burnout
  • Actively seeking a new job
  • Feeling like their organization doesn’t care about their wellbeing

“Employees’ needs remain largely unmet in the workplace. Employee engagement has been in a slump since 2021 and only recently started making a slow crawl back,” added a note accompanying the Gallup poll. “The biggest causes of this trend are fundamental failures in performance development: 1) unclear expectations at work, 2) feeling disconnected from the mission of purpose of the organization, and 3) lack of opportunities for development.”

If you’re feeling burned out, don’t worry: it can impact literally anyone, from junior developers to the world’s most famous industrial designer. But that also means anyone can use a set of tried-and-true tactics to mitigate that burnout.

Solving Burnout

First and foremost, the key to solving most burnout is communication and transparency, especially with your manager and anyone else regulating your schedule. By voicing your concerns, you can begin working in a proactive way to limit the factors frying your brain—whether it’s workload, schedule, or even the need for more recognition.

You might not always succeed in getting what you need; for example, some industries (such as the video game industry) have struggled for years to regulate “crunch time” and excessive workloads, especially at contracting firms.

Fortunately, the tech unemployment rate is notably low, and many tech jobs are relatively low stress. What defines a low-stress tech job? That can vary from position to position, but generally they rock the following:

  • Solid work-life balance
  • Good bosses (i.e., a manager who listens and understands)
  • Great benefits and perks (Snacks! Healthcare!)
  • Solid career opportunities and trajectory

According to U.S. News and World Report’s annual list of jobs that merge low stress and high pay, the following tech jobs that offer big paychecks and relatively little strain and anxiety include:

  • Software developer
  • Information security analyst
  • IT manager
  • Web developer
  • Management analyst
  • Computer systems analyst
  • Data scientist
  • Database administrator
  • Statistician
  • Biomedical engineer

Whether or not you’re currently stressed out in your role, keep in mind that there are always solutions to burnout: you can push for new challenges, schedule changes and more—and if you don’t get any of those things, you can find a new job that will give you exactly what you need.