Blog Post

What do young workers want: social media, device freedom

With the way the job market is these days, young workers can’t always afford to be choosy. But if you think it comes down to just a landing a job and getting some money, think again. The second chapter of the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report (s csco) shows that young workers weigh their job decisions based on many factors including social media access, choice of device and the ability to work remotely. These things can actually trump salary considerations in some cases.

The report highlights the shifting values of young workers who grew up surrounded by social media and connected devices. Now, wanting these perks and getting them are two different things but the report shows the growing expectations of this generation and what employers should think about providing if they want to recruit top workers coming out of college. They’re not really perks to this generation but increasingly what they expect when they go to work.

For its second report, Cisco surveyed 2,800 workers under 30 and college students about to enter the work force in 14 countries. Here are some of the interesting findings:

  • One in three respondents (33 percent) said that they would prioritize social media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility over salary in accepting a job offer.
  • 40 percent of college students and 45 percent of young employees said they would accept lower pay if they get more flexibility with regard to device choice, social media access, and mobility as opposed to a higher pay with less flexibility.
  • 56 percent of college students said that if they encountered a company that banned access to social media, they would either not accept a job offer or would join and find a way  to circumvent corporate policy. One in four overall (24 percent) said social media access would be a key factor in accepting a job.
  • 81 percent of college students want to choose the device for their job. They want to either receive budgeted funds to buy their own work device or bring in a personal device in addition to a standard company-issued machine. And 68 percent of employees believe their companies should allow them to access social media and personal sites with their work-issued devices.
  • 77 percent of employees have multiple devices, such as a laptop and a smartphone or multiple phones and computers and one in three employees globally (33 percent) uses at least three devices for work. Half of all respondents (49 percent) said they would rather lose their wallet or purse than their smartphone or mobile device.
  • 29 percent of college students surveyed feel that once they begin working, it will be their right, not just a privilege, to be able to work remotely with a flexible schedule. In fact 70 percent of college students and 69 percent of employees believe it is unnecessary to be in the office regularly, with the exception of important meetings. One in four students feel their productivity would increase if they could work from home or remotely.
  •  Currently, 57 percent of employees can connect to their corporate network from some  remote locations, but only 28 percent can do so at anytime, from any location. Two in five (43 percent) consider it a critical function of their job to be able to connect to the network from any location at any time.

Now, again this is a long list of expectations for employees who, of course, will want whatever they can get. But savvy IT and HR professionals may want to take note of what this next generation expects in the office. Sheila Jordan, Cisco’s VP of Communication and
Collaboration IT, said these young workers and college students prize their devices and social networks and increasingly don’t distinguish between their personal and work worlds.

Those expectations will force IT officials to look at their infrastructure and device policies and require some companies to rethink the metrics of how they measure employee productivity and effectiveness, Jordan said. Companies don’t have to offer everything to all employees but they should think about offering more choice in a way that minimizes risk, said Jordan.  This is just a reflection of the consumerization of IT and how consumer trends are affecting the expectations of workers.

“What happens in the consumer space is happening in the enterprise. We’re seeing this way of communicating and collaborating and that expectation is coming to work. I think those expectations already exist, it’s a matter of how fast IT can accommodate them while meeting needs and minimizing risk,” Jordan said.

16 Responses to “What do young workers want: social media, device freedom”

  1. John Symes

    I simply cannot believe the reluctance of some of you to accept new ways of working! Anyboby who has children or teenagers will realise that they can multi-task in ways which older generations cannot believe. Don’t deny them that! Don’t resist progress. Get real and embrace it otherwise you will fail to take advantage of the new blood that’s out there and hungry to carry forward your business into the future. Well done CISCO!

  2. Don’t assume all use of social media is Facebookers posting their favorite Judge Judy episodes. The landscape is changing and slowly but surely the social sites relevant to business are popping up. I have run organizations for awhile now and there is another shift coming to a relevant and collaborative social paradigm. Get ready my fellow geezers!

  3. John Thornton

    Social media is just fine, but the majority of young people just don’t get it. It what it is. People’s insecurity has been exploited by it. There is a broad line between the entertainment part and the business part. Unfortunately, most can’t see that line.

  4. The only people who consider Facebook and twitter “play” would be the people that haven’t been able to find a way to work on it.

    If every textbook you’ve read, piece of clothing you’ve bought, device you’ve used, software you’ve created with, meeting you’ve kept, industry friend you’ve met, co-worker you’ve talked to, and job you’ve gotten all were discovered, researched, or facilitated by one thing, you wouldn’t see that as a plaything, you’d see it as more important than any one of the five bosses you’ll have before the age of 30. After all, these young people have been told their whole life that what they’re doing is a waste of time, they’re masters at getting around other people’s ignorance.

    I was recruited out of a UC, with an Arts degree, into a management position because of my tech-mastery. I took the company’s IT setup from 1997 to current, as a side-project. My main job was project coordination, I dealt with clients. I use Facebook to pull in more than 150 news sites together in an organized fashion that highlights popular articles liked by big people in my field, including clients and vendors. No other site can do that.

    I also spent so much time on Facebook that I began to develop a theory of social advertising and created a successful ad campaign for my company.

    I think the people who poopoo social media or device flexibility are just ignorant clowns, who secretly see the world as a playground, and resign to the workplace as a gray box your soul dies slowly in.

  5. Samille Johnson

    Lets put it like this. I worked at this one radio station that still uses old dinosaur technology. They use carts to store commercials and other audio that needs airing, Reel to Reels that I am not against at all, but no one there knew how to service the thing but me. There is not a computer anywhere in the station so they cant keep track of anything. The kids coming in fresh out of Broadcast School asking what the hell is this stuff? Well the great up to date talent that the station could have hired chose another employer that was on board with new technology. WHO LOST? THE EMPLOYER. END OF STORY. Yea you know those kids are gonna play a little bit, but as long as the job gets done at the end of the day and my bottom line is where it needs too be,,, let them have a little fun,,, it makes the day go by faster and reduces stress and raises attendance levels.

    ROLODEX AND BIN DOCKET DAYS ARE GONE BUDDY, ALTHOUGH I STILL LIKE THEM AS AN OLD SCHOOL BACK UP. Now the problem comes in when the young guys in their twenties treat older seasoned workers like they are dated and not up on top of technology and after reading this post regarding what kids expect, I see why they treat the older workers like has been’s job hunters although they are way off on their analogy.

  6. Samille Johnson

    No they are not playing nor kidding, It is what it is. I am in my well I am not gonna say my age due to obvious age discrimination by employers but I am all for NEW TECHNOLOGY and in fact technology is our friend. GET ON BOARD OR GET LEFT BEHIND. PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT.

  7. The eyebrow raiser for me was “29 percent of college students surveyed feel that once they begin working, it will be their right, not just a privilege, to be able to work remotely with a flexible schedule. In fact 70 percent of college students and 69 percent of employees believe it is unnecessary to be in the office regularly, with the exception of important meetings. One in four students feel their productivity would increase if they could work from home or remotely.”

    These kids are clearly not cut out for corporate jobs and expect “fun” workplaces as portrayed with Google or Pixar. Sorry, but that’s definitely not part of the 99% of us who work full time.

  8. David Gaspin

    I have never felt older than I do after reading this article. I think that giving credence to these stories is simply furthering the myth that employers need to adapt to the whims of every generation. Why should fresh grads dictate the offerings of a corporation? And who is telling them that it’s OK to ask about social media access during the interview process? If someone asked me about that in an interview I’d consider it a HUGE red flag. And I work for a pretty progressive company, where most of these “demands” are regularly met.

    While it’s great to expect and “demand” flexibility to work remotely and to blur the lines between work time and personal time, there are also major legal ramifications. Most fresh grads are hired into non-salaried or non-exempt positions where they are paid for the actual time spent working. This is a legally required based on the responsibilities of most entry-level jobs. How can time be accurately reported and paid for if we’re encouraging people to access work from anywhere, putz around on social media, and not have dedicated work time?

    IMHO it’s all a fad. Sure, companies have to change with the times, but it’s ridiculous to think that these demands legitimately have to be met to attract good junior talent.

  9. Well, that settles it. I will forbid the use of social media at my company. Anything I can do to hire and retain people who understand what the word “work” means is what will be on the agenda. As a company owner, I don’t have time to check a Facebook account or to tweet some meaningless drivel, and I am not going to underwrite such a waste of time and company resources for those whose emotional neediness requires them to get their hourly fix on my dime.

  10. So, let me get this straight. Younger workers expect to get paid to play on Facebook and Twitter rather than work? Fat chance of that happening. Get real, kids. Playtime is over, time to go to work.

    • Ryan Kim

      haha, yeah, i kind of had that thought. But hey, if you ask them what they want, this is what they say. But the hard things these days is just getting a good job at all.

    • Nick Bergseng

      I dunno. Let’s think about some of these things for a minute. I recently graduated college and have a job, so I feel like my opinion might be relevant.

      I personally feel that if a company is going to not hire me because of something they found on Facebook, I probably wouldn’t be happy at that company anyway. There’s two possibilities there. One, I need to check myself because I’m doing stupid things and letting them be captured on camera. Or two, the company is uncomfortable having employees with social lives. If I weren’t hired because I was doing something illegal or something, then I’d fall in the first category and it’d be my fault. However, if I wasn’t hired because there are pictures of me at a bar or at a Halloween party (wearing something reasonable), I probably wouldn’t want to work at that company anyway.

      As far as device/workplace freedom goes, that makes sense. If you’re spending 80k a year on an engineer, give them the 2k worth of tools they need to be most effective. Let them work from home and avoid 2 hours worth of commuting time. Stop putting up cubicle walls that prevent communication for those who come into the office (unless they make frequent phone calls or something).

      Personally, I see a lot of things here that look like a return to rationality. Seriously, cubes never made sense for 75% of employees.