It's true: we really all do suffer at the hands of pointy-haired bosses. A third of all IT workers claim that they are unable to work properly thanks to interfering managers.

That's according to a survey from SWNS which revealed that IT professionals topped the list of most stressed individuals at work today, beating even those working in healthcare.

One IT respondent said: "I spend most of my day fielding calls from people who don’t even have a basic knowledge of computers and printers. It is amazing the amount of time I spend teaching people where the on-off button is. And when I do actually find a technical problem to solve, I have my manager breathing down my neck wondering why I have a backlog of complaints."

Other IT professionals surveyed echoed his sentiments, saying that it was difficult to get any work done with managers constantly on their backs.

The poll of 3000 professionals – conducted on behalf of online learning provider SkillSoft – further revealed that:

- 97 percent of people working in IT claim to find their life at work stressful on a daily basis.
- Four out of five IT consultants feel stressed before they even enter the workplace, in anticipation of another day juggling complaints, pressure from managers and daily targets.
- A quarter of IT experts are under such enormous pressure to perform at work they have taken time off suffering with stress.

Kevin Young, managing director of SkillSoft says: "Our research was sparked by a recent Gartner report which claims that the untrained or under-trained desktop user will cost an organisation five times more to support than a well-trained worker. This led us to thinking about how much pressure this must also put on the IT professionals who have to provide such support."

Employees claimed to feel put-upon and suffered most at the hands of their managers – blamed for lack of support, increasing pressure, interruptions and bullying behaviour, said the survey. Results also showed that while 37 percent of staff found it difficult to meet deadlines, 31 percent stressed about taking on other people’s work.

Not surprisingly, a disgruntled 28 percent said they lacked job satisfaction, and preferred to work elsewhere. A third of people said they would rather be their own boss, and have complete control over their daily duties.

"According to the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), stress is now the biggest cause of working days lost through injury or ill-health (an estimated 12.8 million lost days each year). And the TUC estimates that work-related stress costs the economy up to £7bn per annum. By understanding more about what makes people stressed at work, organisations are much better placed to manage its causes," said Kevin Young.

Perhaps the HSE will now find it reasonable to recognise and add 'IT' as a stress-prone industry on its own website. How about also adding a stress-survey for the IT managers?