More than half of chief information officers (CIOs) in the UK say they have not fulfilled their ambitions in their current role, blaming internal politics, according to new research.

According to Citrix, just 42% of those surveyed said they had achieved all of their goals in their current or previous job while 53% said they had only managed to achieve "some". The remaining 5% said they weren't able to fulfil any of their goals.

When asked what holds them back from performing to the best of their abilities, the top three reasons cited were internal politics and 'sacred cows' (ideas or ways of working, which are seemingly immune to criticism) (24%), the c-suite seeking an immediate return on investment from projects (22%), and tight budgetary restraints (22%).

Half of those surveyed had spent less than five years in their previous role, with a similar number expecting to remain in their current job the same amount of time. It's because two thirds believe that, in order to remain effective and maintain a strong CV, they need to move CIO role at least once every five years. Alongside this, around one in four (24%) CIOs are now taking on the responsibility that a chief digital officer (CDO) or equivalent would hold (rather than formally appointing someone to take this role).

Darren Fields, regional director for UK & Ireland at Citrix, said: “Today, consumers expect a first-class digital experience, whether we’re booking taxis to changing the heating settings at home. We expect that same ease and simplicity when using technology at work – and the CIO is largely responsible for making this happen.

"To achieve this, CIOs need patience, backing and autonomy from the board in order to turn their vision into a reality. Many feel hamstrung by the infrastructure they inherited and report being denied the time and organisational structure to put it right – resulting in them leaving their roles without having achieved what they’d set out to do. This results in a ‘CIO cycle’ which can leave businesses uncertain on their digital strategy, holding back productivity, restraining growth and putting businesses under increasing threat from competitors."