The ability to freely access social media in the workplace rivals other, more traditional considerations like salary when young professionals are weighing up employment options, according to Cisco Systems’ recent “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 including the U.S., Canada, U.K., France, Germany, India, China, Japan and Australia. Social media access was just one of several important technological criteria cited by young adults for the ideal workplace; their wish list also included mobile access and the ability to work remotely.
Overall 33% of college students and young adult workers said they 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. Sixty-eight percent said they should be permitted to use work-issued mobile devices and computers to access social media, and a similar proportion said they have “friended” or follow a manager or co-workers on social media sites.
While this sends a pretty unequivocal message to employers that they need to be flexible about social media to attract and retain talent, bosses might not be so happy with some of the other Cisco findings: for example, 43% of respondents admitted that they were distracted by social media three or more times per hour while studying or working on a project.
There is an even bigger potential conflict brewing when it comes to remote access: while 69% of young employees said being present in the office was “unnecessary for my everyday job routines” -- up from 60% last year -- the majority of respondents also said their boss still “feels it is necessary for them to be physically present in the office to work efficiently because nothing replaces daily in-person interaction.”
Twenty-nine percent of all respondents said not being permitted to work remotely would influence them to decline a job offer or leave employment earlier than they otherwise might, and one quarter said being able to work from home would actually boost their productivity.