IT Pros are Happier at Smaller Firms: Study

IT Pros are happier at smaller companies.

Just last month, we told you avoiding Silicon Valley may be a better choice if you want your salary to go further. Now, a second bit of unintuitive news: stop trying to work at huge companies, too.

A new study by Spiceworks suggests IT professionals who work at smaller companies are happier. Of companies with over 1,000 employees, only 55 percent of the IT professionals working there consider themselves happy. Medium-size companies (100-999 employees) have a 62 percent happiness rating among IT pros, while small businesses (less than 100 employees, obviously) check in at 66 percent.

Those happiness ratings have two direct correlations: stress and co-worker relationships. Some 39 percent of IT pros at large companies report being stressed, which drops to 30 percent when you work at small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Unfortunately, Spiceworks also says a drop in your stress level carries slightly less pay, with IT pros at SMBs making eight percent less than their counterparts at big companies. As you might imagine, that also means those at smaller companies report being unhappy with their pay more than those at a Google or Facebook might.

Above all, co-worker relationships are of greatest concern to IT pros. A healthy 61 percent say their relationships with people they work with have the largest impact on their happiness, with other factors such as pay and stress having 53 percent of IT pros worried.

If you really want to be happy, get a promotion! IT directors are the happiest: Some 70 percent report being happy in their positions, while only 54 percent of IT managers say they’re happy where they are. Network administrators and help desk technicians are the happy medium (pun intended), with 64 percent saying they like their jobs.

Promotions and raises come with baggage, though. An alarming 54 percent of IT directors say they’re “highly stressed,” which drops to 44 percent for IT managers. Twenty-eight percent of network administrators and 21 percent of help desk staff say the same.

“Although IT directors are the most stressed, they might feel their work is more rewarding because they’re often calling the shots and growing the careers of others, which might offset any decline in overall happiness due to stress,” said Peter Tsai, IT analyst at Spiceworks. “Ultimately, it’s clear happiness in IT is driven by a variety of factors and doesn’t hinge on one single variable like stress or money.”

If we were drawing Venn diagrams of the factors that go into happiness, we’d see a lot of overlap in some recognizable spots. Pay, relationships, and stress all play major roles in the overall satisfaction IT pros have at their place of work, along with job title and responsibility. But the spots of discontent suggest that, although working at a smaller company may be a less-exciting career choice, it may ultimately lead to true happiness.

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