A critical new report released today by Managed 24/7, a leading managed IT services business, reports the impact of poor IT to the UK’s workforce productivity. It is widely accepted that the UK is facing a productivity crisis and this report outlines, for the first time, how much of this loss is caused by poor IT systems and infrastructure. The report suggests that IT failure could cost UK PLC £35 billion per year* if the average amount of time lost was applied to all full-time workers, the equivalent of the entire population of Birmingham and Milton Keynes not working all year. 

The average GB employee in the private sector who uses IT and has wasted any time, wastes on average 5.59% of their total working time due to IT issues. This equates to 27 minutes per day, 2.5 hours per week or more than one working day per four-week month.

In addition to the underlying costs in term of productivity and the bottom line, the report also found that among employees who use IT at work:

  • 32% believe that their workplace IT systems are damaging their ability to do a good job, which rises to 37% for firms with more than 500 employees
  • 44% believe that IT problems directly costs their business time and money
  • 40% felt that they had better IT systems at home than at work
  • 24% who have experienced IT issues said they have caused customers to complain, rising to 30% in firms with 500 or more employees

John Pepper, CEO and Founder of Managed 24/7, said: “The UK is facing a productivity crisis. The UK currently ranks seventh in the G7 and 17th in the G20 for productivity per person, and fixing our outdated and poorly managed IT systems and infrastructure will play a significant role in closing this gap.

“It takes a German worker four days to produce what his or her UK counterpart does in five and this crisis is resulting in the UK lagging well behind other developed nations. In light of recent outages such as at British Airways and the NHS, it is time for the UK to address the issue to ensure we aren’t left behind by our more agile neighbours.” 

The top four issues experienced by IT users in the last year:

  • Slow-running systems / equipment (65%)
  • Failures in connection (54%)
  • Outdated kit or software (32%)
  • Equipment not being ready for a new starter (23%)

When issues do occur, more than a third (34%) of all IT users do not feel that they receive sufficient IT support. This is more marked for very large organisations (firms employing 500 or more staff where 36% of staff feeling dissatisfied). Large companies (those with more than 500 employees) have the worst record for resolving IT issues, with 15% of respondents finding it typically takes more than a day for issues to be resolved.

Staff are therefore inclined to attempt to fix issues on their own, with 27% of respondents saying they are most likely to sort IT issues themselves, with men more likely to sort out their own issues (34%) than women (20%).

Some industries are blighted more by IT issues. The top four industries of those that experience problems were:

  • Retail (27.70 minutes lost per day)
  • Hospitality and leisure (25.83 minutes lost per day)
  • Legal (24.74 minutes lost per day)
  • Finance and accounting (22.60 minutes lost per day)

Full regional data sets and industry results are available on request.

Notes to editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 2,015 private sector employees (under senior management). Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th and 21st March 2017. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of GB businesses by size (i.e. number of employees).

* Average UK loss per year per employee is £1,499 (based on an average hourly rate of £12.92 and the loss of 116 hours a year – source: ONS, Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings, 2016 provisional results.

With 23.34m people working full-time in the UK the potential total cost to the economy is £34,993,662,000 – or £35bn per annum.

(Source: ONS, Statistical Bulletin, UK Labour Market, March 2017). Calculations are conducted by Mobas.