Alarming findings from a recent survey conducted by data management firm Solidatus reveal that 71%[1] of senior global data leaders in financial services firms are contemplating quitting their jobs due to excessive work-related stress.

The research highlights that a significant 87%[2] of these professionals experience adverse effects on their mental health and well-being as a direct result of this stress.

With 64%[3] experiencing high levels of stress in the workplace, which causes more than two-thirds (61%) to suffer from between two and six nights of disrupted sleep per week, it appears that senior data leaders are in an intense state of anxiety and potentially heading for burnout.

Solidatus’ research, conducted in collaboration with market-research firm Censuswide, surveyed 300 senior data leaders across the UK and the US at companies in the financial services sector.

Respondents cite the top three causes of data distress as:

  • too many disparate and siloed sources of data (33%);
  • having to establish the appropriate sources of data for a task in hand (31%); and
  • the risk of fines relating to data governance and regulatory compliance (31%).

Philip Dutton, CEO and Founder of Solidatus, warned that each of these factors compound the others and result in a fundamental breakdown in trust, which drives even higher levels of stress.

The resultant demands and pressures faced by data leaders have given rise to a mounting crisis: data distress. This is particularly acute in financial services, where our research found elevated levels of workplace data stress, which is having a significant impact on mental health. Left unchecked, this could have serious consequences across the organizations that rely on the expertise and leadership of these individuals.

Philip Dutton, CEO and Founder of Solidatus

Impact on job satisfaction and performance

Data distress is taking its toll on the job satisfaction and performance of today’s financial services data leaders  80%[4] said the high level of stress at work impacts their ability to do their job properly, rising to 86%[5] among 25- to 34-year-olds.

79% of respondents who have been at their company for 1-4 years agree[6] that this level of stress makes them want to leave their job, compared to 62% of those who have been in their job for 5+ years. This indicates that the less time you are in a job, the more stress you experience and the greater the urge you have to quit your job.

Tough regulatory requirements contributing to data distress

But despite 83%[7] feeling confident about their company’s ability to collate and report the right data for regulatory requirements, it still takes too much time. Almost a third (32%) of respondents say their team spends four to five hours per week managing data for financial regulations. Nearly three-quarters (73%) believe that up to half their time in this pursuit is wasted through inefficiencies, such as poor systems and data.

As a result, just under half (47%) say ‘lack of data management tools’ is one reason why managing data for financial regulation takes as long as it does and is so stressful. Over a third (34%) state that it’s because ‘our data sets are all in siloed systems’ and 32% believe ‘we don’t have a good view of our full data estate’.

Dannielle Haig, an independent Business Psychologist who coaches senior business leaders, commented:

To navigate this data deluge, it is crucial for data leaders to prioritize self-care. By fostering a healthy work-life balance and seeking support with the right tools and techniques – which can increase their capacity to make better decisions that they’re more confident in and to de-risk – they can maintain their mental stability, manage their spiralling datasets and lead with optimism, clarity and resilience.

Dannielle Haig, independent Business Psychologist

Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website | + posts

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.