One in five job-seekers (19.7%) say they would refuse to work for an employer who didn’t allow them to access social media in the workplace, according to survey results in a new white paper titled “Tomorrow’s Workforce” published by Hays, a recruitment firm based in the U.K.
The Hays survey of 870 employers and job candidates found that half the prospective employees use social media, with 36.4% saying they log on “occasionally” and 13.3% logging on daily. Within this group, over half said they had previously used company property (presumably desktops or laptops in most cases) to access social media.
Unsurprisingly, younger job candidates are more likely to demand social media access in the workplace. And many employers are striving to accommodate the online habits of job candidates, according to Hays: One third of employers surveyed allow full access, 43.2% allow limited access to social media (for example, restricting it to certain times), and 44.3% said they believed allowing social media access would help them retain skilled workers. But on the other hand, 23.7% have banned social media outright.
Last year I wrote about a report from Cisco Systems, “Connected World Technology Report,” based on a global survey of 1,441 college students and 1,412 employees, ages 18-29, in 14 countries worldwide, which found 33% of college students and young adult workers would place greater value on social media access, “device flexibility,” and the ability to work from locations outside the office than salary when considering a job offer. Indeed, 40% of college students and 45% of young employees said they would be willing to accept a lower-paying job if it meant greater freedom in these areas. And a whopping 56% of college students said they would either not take a job at a company which banned social media access, or take the job but find a way to get around the ban.
And earlier this year a study by Palo Alto Networks, a network security company, showed social media use on workplace computers increased a remarkable 300% between mid-2010 and mid- 2011. Social networking’s overall bandwidth consumption -- including Facebook Apps, Social Plugins, and posting -- jumped from 5% of total bandwidth in October 2010 to 25% in December 2011. Twitter alone saw at-work browsing increase 700% in that period.