Posted November 3, 2011 4:46 pm by with 9 comments

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What would you rather have, a raise in salary or access to Facebook at work? How you answer that question is highly dependent on your age.

Cisco conducted a survey of 2,800 young professionals across fourteen countries and they came up with data that, while not unexpected, is still a little disturbing.

Part Two of the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report focused on social media, mobile technology and the workplace. Overall, they found that connecting to people on the internet was a big priority for the under 30 crowd, so much so, that they were willing to sacrifice financial stability in order to have access.

More than half of college students globally (56%) 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.

I like that last part about “circumventing.” And then there’s this:

More than two of five college students (40%) and young employees (45%) said they would accept a lower-paying job that had more flexibility with regard to device choice, social media access, and mobility than a higher-paying job with less flexibility.

And then there’s this bit of data from Part One of the study;

More than one in four college students globally (27%) said staying updated on Facebook was more important than partying, dating, listening to music, or hanging out with friends.

In other words, they’re canceling out on seeing real friends in person so they can talk to their virtual friends online. I have a son who fits squarely in this age group, so I asked for his thoughts on this stat. He thought the number was too low. The way he figures it, the real diehards were too busy on Facebook to even answer the survey, so he’s going with two out of four. I tend to agree.

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The general feeling of all those studied is that the world of work isn’t the same as it was twenty years ago. Thanks to advances in mobile technology, it’s not necessary to sit behind a desk from 9-5. They believe that companies should allow the use of all mobile devices for both personal and business purposes in the workplace. 42% even went so far as to say that “companies should be flexible and empathetic to their need to stay connected via social media and personal websites.”

What does all this mean to the marketer? It means that you’re always on. The line between work hours and leisure hours is about to be erased. Young professionals now choose their lunch location based on the instant coupon that shows up on their phone at 11:00 am. They’re shopping for holiday gifts while sitting in a meeting and they’re making weekend getaway plans in the middle of the week.

Let me leave you with one last stat from the report:

Two-thirds of students (66%) and more than half of employees (58%) cite a mobile device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) as “the most important technology in their lives.”

It’s up to you to make sure your marketing meets that need.

  • This is one that always makes me wonder.

    Young folks have to understand that the world doesn’t need to bend to their every whim and need. In fact, it’s annoying that they carry the attitude that it should.

    I doubt I would want someone on a team who is willing to circumvent rules in order to meet their needs and not the business’ objectives. People who have that attitude get found out anyway and unless they were some kind of superstar (which is highly unlikely considering their priorities and attitude) they will be where they belong; on the street looking for a place to be social rather than work.

    • MrAndrewJ

      There’s no delicate way to ask this. Isn’t that what they’re doing right now?

  • Do they not get that Facebook etc. does not put a roof over their head, clothes on their back and food in their mouth like a job does (no mater how much you get paid)?

  • Alex P.

    I can understand wanting to be flexible including telecommuting with your job and mobile access is definitely important for a lot of positions ( I would know, I work for a SEO agency and I email clients with my phone on occasion), but turning down steady work because you can’t talk to your friends on Facebook during work hours is sad.

    I’m of the “young worker” generation and that just seems wrong to me. The most important thing to me right now is a steady paycheck and saving money so I can ride out tough times like we are in now. It doesn’t make sense to not take a job at all or take less money just so I can check Facebook.

    • Cynthia Boris

      The flex thing really muddied the water on this survey. I can understand the value of flex in time and location, and I’m not sure why Cisco made that part of the question about social media and mobile. I think there’s a big difference between someone who wants to work on the go from someone who needs social media access 24/7

  • A lot of young workers, especially those who are just about to work for the first time, don’t quite get the gravity of the situation yet with regard to the need for steady employment. Hence prioritizing their need to feel connected via social media.

  • jane

    30% is Not a majority!! Way to twist info..

    • Cynthia Boris

      Don’t know where the 30% is coming from, it’s 56% who said they’d turn down a job if they couldn’t access social media.

  • Karen

    I say, go for the salary raise and then use a tool like ControlByMail from to view Facebook at work. 🙂 Best of both worlds.