CIO Jury: Are the UK's most senior IT execs too stressed out?

Or is their work-life balance no worse than anyone else's…

Working in IT is still associated with long and unsociable hours and's recent Skills Survey found IT managers and board-level IT executives bear the brunt of this.

But how do they compare with their colleagues? We asked our CIO Jury if their view is one of an organisation's most senior IT executives suffering from greater work/life imbalance than fellow, non-IT-focused executives.

Three-quarters (nine) of our panel said 'no', they don't suffer any more than their boardroom colleagues and just three responded with a 'yes'.

None of those in the 'yes' camp were willing to expand on their reasons but those who voted 'no' said the pressures are equal, given the increasingly business-centric role of CIOs and IT directors.

Bill Gibbons, CIO Abbey Group, said: "Given that IT is a fundamental component of a company's overall senior structure, it shares many common objectives, activities and issues. Team working across the functional divides in itself can drive common work patterns and commitments for a variety of reasons."

Graham Yellowley, director of technology at Tokyo-Mitsubishi bank in London, accurately predicted the CIO Jury vote and claimed 60 per cent of IT executives don't suffer a greater work-life imbalance.

"Senior IT executives are certainly in the group of executives who do suffer from a greater work-life imbalance but they are not alone," he said.

It was a sentiment echoed by Margaret Smith, director of business information systems at Legal & General. She said: "All senior people are really stretched with the pressures of doing business in the current climate. I wonder sometimes if the more junior people are being robbed of interesting work by the likes of us who try to do it all."

Kevin Lloyd, CTO at Barclays, also cited pressure on all senior management but claimed there are still some inequalities.

"I do think business colleagues expect IT execs to understand their issues and business but it is not reciprocal," he said.

Although some senior IT execs do suffer more than their non-IT counterparts, Steve Ritchie, CIO at Investcorp, said it ultimately comes down to the personalities on the senior management team, the type of business and the current state it is in.

Today's CIO Jury was…

Peter Dew, CIO, BOC
Mark Foulsham, Head of IT, esure
Derek Gannon, IT Director, The Guardian
Bill Gibbons, CIO Abbey Group
John Keeling, Director of Computer Services, John Lewis Partnership
Mark Lichtenhein, Director of IT and New Media, PGA European Tour
Kevin Lloyd, CTO Barclays
Steve Ritchie, CIO, Investcorp
Margaret Smith, Director of Business Information Systems, Legal & General
Dave Williams, IT Director, Flybe
Ted Woodhouse, IT Director, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Graham Yellowley, Director of Technology, Tokyo-Mitsubishi

If you are a CIO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and want to be part of's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at

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