Young, Female Developers Burn Out Because of ‘Expectations’

15 Jul 2021 11:51am, by

Demand for software developers’ time has not softened recently. COVID-related traumas created their unique reasons for stress, but 55% of 278 software engineers in the United Kingdom feel at least moderately burned-out at work, according to a June 2021 survey conducted on behalf of Haystack. The top reasons for feeling this way are too much work and personal stress but dig deeper and they are really about work and personal expectations.

Females are 16 percentage points more likely than males to be “burned out” from work, but men are 16 percentage points more likely to cite a “high workload” as the reason for feeling this way, whereas females’ point to “unrealistic demands” on the part of management (Non-binary individuals were not accounted into this survey). That’s an easy problem to solve — just hire more developers. Software engineers under 45 years old were 17 percentage points more likely to feel burned than their elders. They blame most of the same reasons but are also more likely to think inefficient processes, unrealistic management demands and unreliable software are problems.

Old & Wise

Young people are in a hurry. If only they could fix unreliable software and inefficient processes, then their workload problems would be solved! The more mature workforce is wiser, and perhaps that is why they are less likely to be burned out. Here is one more disturbing statistic from the survey. When asked about their workplace, 78% of both female software developers 18-44 years old said it takes less than a week on average to begin working on a feature and reliably deploy it into production. In contrast, men, were slightly less likely (65%) to say so, but only 44% of the 45+ crowd rush to get this done. Learn from your elders.

Life/priorities changing is the most cited reason #opensource maintainers consider quitting a project. #2 is BURNOUT, which becomes more of a factor, rising 50% to 64% if “personal stress involved w/ project maintenance” is a big negative for them.