Tech workers are lagging behind in coffee consumption

Journalists, nurses and plumbers are among those who drink more coffee than people in technology

Picture of a man passing a sign for a coffee shop in LondonImage credit: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
Tech workers aren't turning to coffee as much as some other occupations

Last week I wrote about how offering good coffee could be an important tool in recruiting programmers. That really isn’t so surprising, since the stereotypical view of a programmer, or a tech worker in general, is of a person huddled over a computer at all hours of the day and night, downing pots of coffee while debugging software or keeping systems running. Surely, then, when it comes to which occupations as a group drink the most coffee, tech workers are high on the list, right?

Not so much, actually. 

A recent survey of 10,000 workers in the UK by Pressat found that tech workers are a little farther down the list of coffee consuming occupations than you might have suspected. Here are the top ten coffee drinking jobs in the UK:

  1. Journalists and media staff

  2. Police officers

  3. Teachers

  4. Plumbers and trade workers

  5. Nurses and medical staff

  6. Company executives

  7. Telesales

  8. IT technical support

  9. Retail staff

  10. Drivers

Wow. OK, I can see how journalists, police officers and medical workers might down a lot of coffee since they can all work weird hours. But plumbers and teachers drinking more coffee than tech support workers? Seems surprising.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, “Well, that’s the UK. Do they even drink that much coffee there? I thought they loved tea.” The Pressat survey also found that 85% of respondents said they drink at least three cups of coffee per day and 70% said not having coffee would affect their ability to work. So, those UK workers seem to love their coffee.

But what about tech workers here in the US? Dunkin Donuts and CareerBuilder have teamed up to survey American workers on their coffee consumption habits in honor of National Coffee Day (coming up soon, September 29) for several years now. Last year’s survey didn’t break things down by occupation, but previous years’ surveys did. Based on a survey of more than 4,000 US workers in 2012, here are America’s top coffee-consuming occupations:

  1. Food Preparation/Service Workers

  2. Scientists

  3. Sales Representatives

  4. Marketing/Public Relations Professionals

  5. Nurses (Nurse, Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant)

  6. Editors/Writers/Media Workers

  7. Business Executives

  8. Teachers/ Instructors (K-12)

  9. Engineering Technicians/Support

  10. IT Managers/Network Administrators

It seems that IT workers in the US are lagging even farther behind than they are in the UK. In the 2011 Dunkin Donuts/CareerBuilder survey, no IT occupation even made the top 15. Shocking!

What’s going on, here, then? Maybe tech workers are getting their caffeine boost through other methods like sodas or energy drinks. Or maybe, just maybe, our stereotype is wrong and tech workers are and realizing that cutting back on the caffeine and getting more sleep can improve their job performance.

I’m going to ponder it all over another cup of coffee...

Read more of Phil Johnson's #Tech blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Phil on Twitter at @itwphiljohnson. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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