Prospect survey shows surveillance software being used on tech workers

26 October 2022

1 in 5 tech workers are subject to employee monitoring or gathering technologies according to a new survey of members and non-members in tech by Prospect Union.

Prospect surveyed 376 tech workers over the summer to access their priorities and concerns in the workplace. 

The results highlight the extent to which surveillance software has become a feature of the post-pandemic economy, with monitoring being used to monitor tech and other workers in hybrid or remote settings.

It was also clear that many tech workers, who work almost exclusively remotely, faced issues with work/life balance. Only 1 in 4 respondents said they could “always” switch off outside working hours.

Prospect launched its tech worker branch in November last year and now has over 1,000 members working across tech, data and coding roles.

With the launch of the tech workers sector of Prospect last year we drew attention to the growing extent of employee surveillance at work. The findings of our new survey lay bare the lack of consultation on monitoring at work in the tech industry: Only 11% of respondents reported being very sure what data their employer collects about them and why.

Key findings:

  • The key overall issues in the industry according to respondents were pay and work life balance
  • Over 2 in 5 were “somewhat” or “very” unsure what data their employer was gathering on them or how it was being used.
  • Only 1 in 4 respondents said they could “always” switch off outside working hours
  • 93% of respondents said flexibility at work was an important factor when choosing to stay in a current role or in applying for a new job.
  • 63% of respondents work remotely, 29% work a hybrid pattern and only 8% are exclusively office based.
  • A significant majority of respondents would like to see their employer do more to support responsible tech (69%)

Andrew Pakes, Prospect Research Director said: 

“The rise of monitoring software is one of the untold stories of the Covid pandemic. Growing surveillance at work has quickly become a mainstream work issue facing people across all industries.

“Digital technology means that we can now work almost anywhere, but it also means our work can follow us everywhere. The fact that this surveillance is affecting tech workers shows the extent to which digital technology is changing how we are managed and work.

“The survey highlights the need to update employment rights now to cover data use and monitoring technologies.

“We’d encourage anyone worried about surveillance or monitoring to contact their union representative or to join a union.”

Union for tech workers

For a better, healthier and fairer tech industry.