Highly educated employees struggle with information overload

Highly educated employees find in increasingly difficult to process the continuous flow of emails, apps and phone calls during a working day. Low-educated employees experience less problems.


Last year 28 percent of all employees in the Netherlands had difficulties processing the information that comes their way. In 2014 this was 25 percent. The percentage of employees who suffer from information overload is almost three times higher among highly educated employees than among employees with only a pre-vocational education (vmbo) diploma: 40 compared to 14 percent. These are the results of the Netherlands Working Conditions Survey conducted among over sixty thousand employees, carried out by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) and theNetherlands Organisation for applied scientific research (TNO).

CBS researcher Tanja Traag ascribes the difference to the jobs of low and highly skilled employees. “We know that highly educated employees are more dependent on a laptop and a telephone in their work. This leads to a continuous flow of information.”

Read on below the chart.


Managers suffer the most from this problem. Almost half (46 percent) of them say they ‘often’ or ‘always’ have difficulty processing everything in time. This applies most often to managers in healthcare, education and ICT (60 percent).

According to the survey, 66 percent of all employees who suffer from information overload claim to be satisfied with their working conditions. More than half considers a career change. Among employees who do not suffer from the problem, 75 percent is satisfied and 44 percent considered changing careers.


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