Fast Company

Half Of Young Professionals Value Facebook Access, Smartphone Options Over Salary: Report

College Archive Exhibit: A Legacy of Learning

For a whole new generation of tech-savvy young professionals, having access to social media or the right smartphone in the workplace is at times more important than earning a higher salary. For businesses, that means adapting to this change in priorities rather than resisting it--if the Mad Men-era job force expected noon whiskeys and female secretaries, then our modern-day equivalent demands Facebook and iPhones.

The findings come thanks to Cisco's second annual Connected World Technology Report, a study released today that says attracting and maintaining Millennial talent takes more than the number of zeroes attached to a weekly paycheck. The company surveyed 1,400 college students aged 18 to 23 and 1,400 young professionals under the age of 30 across 14 countries. HR and IT managers take note: "The growing use of the Internet and mobile devices in the workplace is creating a significant impact on job decisions, hiring and work-life balance," the report concluded. "The ability to use social media, mobile devices, and the Internet more freely in the workplace is strong enough to influence job choice, sometimes more than salary."

Cisco's findings are telling of a generation that's been glued to LCD screens and wired to social networks from an early age. According to the report, 40% of college students and 45% of young professionals would accept lower-paying jobs if they had more access to social media, more choice in the devices they could use at work, and more flexibility in working remotely. More than half of the college students surveyed indicated that if an employer banned access to networks like Facebook at work, "they would either not accept a job offer from them or would join and find a way to circumvent."

This technology addiction represents a major opportunity for employers looking to add to their bottom lines while recruiting top talent. For just a few simple workplace concessions (say, allowing employees to choose an iPhone over a BlackBerry, and opening up access to social networks), recruits could be more likely to accept job offers--and at a lower salary. One in four college students, according to the report, said issues like these--while likely baffling to older generations--would represent key factors in their decision to accept a job offer. (To demonstrate just how obsessed Millennials are with their precious tech, Cisco also discovered that more than half of respondents said they'd rather lose their wallets or purses before losing their smartphones or mobile devices.)

At Cisco, the company is exploring internal opportunities to take advantage of the report's findings, which continue to show an increased melding between one's professional and personal life. Employees more and more show an interest in working from home, using a work-issued mobile device for personal purposes, and connect to social networks while on the job. (There's a reason why services such as Yammer, the enterprise version of Facebook, are becoming so popular.) In fact, seven out of 10 college students said company-issued devices should be allowed for personal use. That's why Cisco, for example, is internally testing what's called BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, meaning employees can come to work with whatever technology they prefer--be it an Android smartphone, an iPad, or a Windows-based laptop.

If that's what it takes to recruit top talent these days--especially at a potentially lower price--how can you complain?

[Image: Flickr user Lower Columbia College]

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19 Comments

  • Jess

    I had to sign up for this JUST to weigh in on this article.  This study is completely absurd and has very little evidence to support its claim.  Okay, so LESS than half of the SMALL number of people surveyed said that they would accept a lower-paying job if they had access to Social Media.  Yet Millennials are "obsessed with their precious tech".  Hmm. 

  • Cathy Goodwin

    First, few people can accurately predict what they would *really* do if confronted with a tough choice. If offered significantly more money for the job without Facebook, I suspect many of these young folks would take the money.

    Second, the last sentence of the article says it all: companies are trying to recruit top talent at lower prices. The sought-after top talent won't have to make these choices. They'll be in a strong position to negotiate for what they really want.

  • Katie Hozan

    Some of these comments are very quick to judge. Students coming out of college today DO know the meaning of work or a "real" job. I'm not saying they all do, but most of us do. Enabling Facebook and other social media sites would be done to promote conversation of the company or brand - not the individual's personal accounts. If the individual chooses to access their personal accounts during work, that needs to be dealt with directly. All companies allowing access to social media need to have a social media plan in place that is given to all employees.

  • adam hartung

    Wow! Coincidentally, CIO Magazine published an article on Tuesday 1 Nov. that discusses how employees won't take jobs - or will even quit jobs - where they have to use some clunky, traditional interface to enterprise applications like ERP or CRM!  The issue is that we are redefining productivity - and we really are seeing the rise of personal productivity from individual tools, something that flies in the face of conventional IT thinking about their huge, expensive enterprise applications.  You can read the CIO magazine article here: http://bit.ly/tbZd6X 
    (PS - Article was also published on ComputerWorld, PC Advisor and TechWorld)

  • Kevin Arrow

    The Cisco study has been making the rounds very quickly. It is important to be aware that Cisco stands to gain (as a router supplier) if companies expand and open up access for all.

    It is an interesting topic, but I would take the Cisco commissioned stats with a grain of salt.

  • JonYoffie

    Lot of comments about this generation not understanding what a job is and what it required. Get over it people.

    I take this research to heart and would prefer an engaged happy employee who finds time to work form home and on the weekends, integrates work with his/her "life" and does not feel like an indentured servant living for the evenings and weekends. I want my business to be on social networks and I know these younger folks live on them. I'd rather they be saying good things about my business than feeling they need to sneak onto Facebook when no one is looking. If you don't want these folks working for you, I'll take 'em!
    Jon
    www.dominothry.com

  • Geoff Carruth

    Interesting that the people they surveyed probably have very little idea of what it means to have a real job. Social media have their place, but many employers need to restrict access so that employees don't spend hours of company time being unproductive. This survey is very worrying for the future of business.

  • name1

    so dudes check it....I am the new CTO....rockin...ok...I am going on vacation now...back in 2 weeks. Tweet me if you need anything. later. 

  • name1

    so anyway...I'm getting a new job where you get to bring your own technology in....but I wonder if I have to show up at an office? I wish someone would have explained all of this at college...well there goes 7 years down the drain....my Dad is going to be pissed. 

  • name1

    well anyway...I turned in my resignation because my manager expects me to actually show up here like 8 hours a day......hold on gotta tweet back....there got it. so like who can actually be expected to sit in an office for 8 hours and actually get anything creative done? what a freak. 

  • name1

    so like my manager is at my desk asking me where my project is...wait a minute got an email from the myspace admin...back in 3

  • name1

    I was just about to concentrate on this subject for 11 seconds when....................................

  • Yvette Cameron

    Nice
    summation in this article, and the detailed Cisco findings infographic (http://bit.ly/vhNtb6)
    does a brilliant job summarizing the fundamental shifts in how we engage and
    ultimately how work gets done. What this means, however, is that the finding
    that individuals will take a reduced salary in exchange for access and device
    flexibility is short lived at best. More and more companies are lifting bans on
    external social site access (which only reduced but didn't stop employees from using
    these sites during work hours). Additionally, surveys reveal that despite
    company policies against it, employees will use personal devices for work (and
    even bear added costs to do so) in order to work in the tool of their choice.
    BYOD - essentially a policy of "embracing
    mobile diversity" - is on the rise as more and more
    organizations consider how their policies impact talent management initiatives
    (recruiting, retention, engagement, etc.) and ultimately business outcomes.

  • Nanguneri

    This is very incidental. Last month I was quoting that if the administration that manages the ban on use of mobile phones and FB access at work or institutions during work or class hours then the students or employees would choose their FB access and smart phones over their degree or jobs.  Thus the access to social media as well as smart phones is becoming something that employers and management of educational institutions need to find ways to leverage rather than ban. Monitoring, controlling and institutionalizing such bans are physically or virtually impossible. We have to find ways at work to integrate these devices and information so that the millennial and other generation type employees (students) feel secure and find ways to become effective as well as efficient at work or college.  I was working with a student and asked for the individual grades from their internet grade access page such as assignments. The student out of the US was beginning to count the number of assignments literally on the screen rather than using keys such as "Control F" where the count is provided automatically and eliminates error, let alone time. Second, I was approached by one of my associates to get him an iPhone from the US even though he had access to a smart phone for emails and telephone calls. It is also a peer effect plus technology advantage on the model of such instruments when people choose them. The Bberry due to its limited choices is fading away faster than the fruit rotting when left outside in the sun.

    Managers and professors can easily become innovative and encourage their people and pupils to utilize such devices and be connected to the media so long as the customer is kept delighted.  Working from home is a great option to avoid such management so long as the customer's needs are exceeded and delivered. 
    a - Managers and professionals in our educational institutions are not mentored on what questions to ask of customer delight or academic commitments and tend to stick with their traditional queries yielding traditional behaviors in a changing world with technological advances. Unless management in these two environments willingly and passionately encourage a positive integration of such devices as well as media access, the painful process of monitoring or losing employees to competition is going to continue.  

    b - While an employee tends to use social media or their smart phone, it is not the very use that is disruptive, but whether the use itself negatively affects the very own reason they are there. For example an employee gets paid a salary to work and execute their deeds at work to keep the customer happy. Once these employees are saddled with the right responsibility and kept busy they probably wouldn't have the time to engage in such activities assuming the work challenges them and they also get mentored constantly with positive reinforcements from the boss. If the environment is negative, then no amount of social media or smart phone access is going to keep them hanging in unless they are waiting to get another offer.

    c - If management at work or in academic institution want to keep people and pupils busy then get them engaged and more attached to work rather than anything else. Once the conversation on FB or on the phone is much more entertaining than the work or classes taught, the attention is going to drift to something else of a better choice. 

    d - In a world where people are chatting, text messaging from movie theaters while the movie is on, it clearly tells us that the average attention span is not as long as it use to be back in those decades. So by increasing the fun or passion or value in our activity and thus engaging the associate or student in question, the chances of them drifting to something else reduces.

    e - One can also reward the right behaviors instead of punishing the undesirable behaviors and this said in theory but rarely practiced.  So just because hiring is difficult and cost of firing is high it doesn't necessarily mean that what the millennial or generation type are dong is right. This is simply because the customer needs have gone up if not stayed constant and they are expecting today's manufactured goods and services to be delivered yesterday (kind of a speed thing). In this environment, the root cause is there is no passion at work or in the class and such devices or the person speaking on the other end on the phone is much more fun. So understanding this is a better way to deal with what actions have to be taken rather than changing some policy or accommodating technological comforts at the workplace. Why should an employer pay for non value added activity of their employer let alone have the customer pay for it? This is directly against the principle of being efficient. If the employee has time to engage in such behavior as well as deliver, then it clearly means they are working below capacity or are not being utilized to their full extent at work or simply unchallenged.

    f - Change the questions and the behavior will automatically change.  Change the mentoring style and the people and pupils are automatically charged and excited. This takes pure leadership and so policy change such as napping at lunch or breaks at work have worked very well both to increase productivity as well as health benefits.

    Hope this helps.SN

  • Ralph Goodrich

    although access to some social media in some jobs is likely to be
    beneficial (for the employee and employer), I see the majority of people
    just trolling FB looking at pictures/social interactions. let's not pretend anything
    productive/beneficial is going on. I have a FB and enjoy having it but at 29 maybe I'm past the idiotic obsession with it. but hey, if companies can pay the new generation less and still get the same work out of them by giving them FB, bravo!

  • Katie Hozan

    This article is interesting. However, I think that it's not quite accurate. Although more than half of graduates say that will not accept a job if the company doesn't allow them to connect to Facebook, this is not likely to be an obstacle. More and more companies are realizing that they must embrace the digital and age of social media. A company that doesn't allow employees to connect to Facebook isn't allowing their employees to listen to the key publics of the company. With this mindset, ultimately the company will fail.
    There is a similar issue with the "BlackBerry vs. iPhone." Today, BlackBerry's are becoming obsolete and not being pubicized or as readily available as technology makes new advancements. The iPhone, or a similar phone, will likely be the only smartphone choice as it is the only style on the market.