Gigged.AI, a leading AI-driven talent platform, has launched a detailed 28-page study, titled ‘Digital Transformation in Crisis: The Impact of Skills Shortages, Talent Trends and Burnout on the UK’s Technology Industry’.

This insightful analysis, based on the responses of 255 professionals deeply entrenched in digital transformation, unveils an alarming trend of burnout and stress among IT and technology professionals in the UK.

Key Findings:

  • A significant 72% of surveyed UK businesses are immersed in digital transformation initiatives. However, nearly a third (30%) feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work versus the manpower available for successful execution.
  • Compared to last year, 57% of respondents believe there’s a heightened tech talent shortage.
  • A concerning 92% admit to feeling stressed at work, with a majority (62%) attributing this stress to the prevailing skills shortage.
  • Over two-fifths (41%) work at least an additional four hours weekly beyond their contractual obligations.

A massive 90% of those surveyed highlight the pressing challenge of a tech skills gap. This gap is especially pronounced in software development (37%) – a challenge acknowledged by almost half of larger firms with over 501 employees (48%). Other areas experiencing pronounced skills shortages include cybersecurity (37%) and digital marketing (36%).

Worryingly, 58% of respondents revealed encountering hiring freezes within their organisations in the past year. Reasons driving this talent shortage encompass a struggle to source qualified candidates (34%) and budgetary constraints (32%), hinting at more profound organisational challenges.

Human Impact: A Rising Crisis in Well-being

Unprecedented work-related stress levels are evident with 92% of respondents admitting to it. This issue is particularly acute among the age group 35-44, where 43% describe their stress levels as either “very” or “extremely” high.

Notable revelations include:

  • One-third (33%) are routinely tasked with roles outside their official job descriptions, translating to an extra four to five weekly work hours.
  • 26% found themselves working even during holidays.
  • Work-related stress has impinged on family time for 37% of respondents, a sentiment shared by over half (54%) of those aged over 45.

The survey results leave little doubt regarding the principal stressor – a majority (62%) identify the tech talent crunch as the root cause, with senior management feeling this acutely (80%).

It is commendable that 69% of organisations offer mental health support, and a similar percentage of employees would consider using such resources. But a concerning one-quarter of potential users fear perceptions of compromised job efficiency or workplace confidentiality breaches.

Current State of Digital Transformation

Despite 72% of UK businesses participating in digital transformation projects, a mere one-third report notable achievements. Meanwhile, 48% are still in the planning phase, and 19% acknowledge considerable work ahead.

For those lagging in their digital transformation journey, predominant reasons include unforeseen delays (45%), excessive workload (30%), or a lack of requisite talent (22%).

In the face of escalating talent shortages and resultant burnout, adaptive strategies are crucial:

  • 27% are looking at training programmes to enhance current employee skills.
  • 80% provide opportunities for added digital roles, with 44% of employees eager to embrace these.
  • In-house training is offered by 37% of businesses, while others are augmenting salaries (33%) and benefits (32%).
  • Only 24% are considering flexible solutions like freelancers or consultants, and a meagre 15% contemplate rethinking their hiring strategies.

Interestingly, 52% of respondents see technologies like Generative AI as potential solutions to tech skills gaps, but 44% harbour ethical reservations about AI replacing human roles.


Expert Insights:

Gigged.AI’s CEO, Rich Wilson, comments, “The burgeoning demand for digital expertise is outpacing the available talent pool. Burnout is escalating to a crisis. It’s paramount for organisations to proactively address employee well-being and revisit their hiring strategies.”

Matt Alder, from The Recruiting Future Podcast, emphasises the need for employers to adapt and leverage AI advancements and talent marketplaces. He advocates for equitable treatment of all workers, ensuring fair compensation, growth opportunities, and fostering a conducive work environment.

Karla McNeilage, sharing her personal experience, recalls reaching a harrowing burnout pinnacle in her prior role. After a challenging period, she transitioned to freelancing, focusing on mental and physical well-being, and now collaborates with empathetic clients who value work-life balance.