The desire of younger employees to use social media, mobile devices, and the Internet more freely in the workplace is strong enough to influence their future job choice more than salary, according to an international study published by Cisco.
The second annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report, which surveyed more than 2,800 college students and young professionals in 14 countries, was commissioned to assess the challenges that companies face as they strive to balance employee and business needs amid increasing network demands, mobility capabilities and security risks.
The study revealed that one in three college students and young employees under the age of 30 (33%) said that they would prioritise social media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility over salary in accepting a job offer, indicating that the expectations and priorities of the next generation of the world's workforce is not solely tied to money.
Almost a third of the employees globally (31%) believe their comfort level with social media and devices was a factor in their hiring - an indication that companies acknowledge the value millennials provide in utilising technology to help companies' efficiency and competitive advantage.
The importance of devices and the information they carry rivals the importance of money. Half of college students and young employees (49%) said they would rather lose their wallet or purse than their smartphone or mobile device.
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.
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.
Just under two thirds (64%) said they plan to ask about social media usage policies during job interviews, and one in four overall (24%) said it will be a key factor in their decision to accept an offer. And more than two of five employees (41%) said their companies marketed a flexible device and social media policy to recruit and attract them.
Four of five college students (81%) want to choose the device for their job - either receiving budgeted funds to purchase the work device of their choice or bringing in a personal one in addition to standard company-issued devices.
Seven of 10 college students (70%) believe it is unnecessary to be in the office regularly, with the exception of an important meeting in fact, one in four feel their productivity would increase if they were allowed to work from home or remotely. The global figures were mirrored by employees as well, with 69% believing office attendance was unnecessary on a regular basis. This compares to 2012 when three of five (60%) employees (of all ages) believed it was unnecessary to be confined to offices.
The 2011 version's finding indicates that the expectation of the next-generation workforce is increasingly emphasising work flexibility, mobility, and non-traditional workstyles.
Sujai Hajela, VP and general manager, wireless networking business unit, Cisco. said: "The findings provide real-life insight into how information is accessed by college students and young IT professionals and how business communications are changing as a result. In addition to the impact on business communications, the study provides proof that the next generation of employees and their technology demands will influence job decisions, hiring and a new age of work-life balance.
"How businesses address these demands will inevitably affect their competitive advantage and HR success. It is not just a technology trend anymore - it's a business trend."
The study was commissioned by Cisco and conducted by InsightExpress, a third-party market research firm based in the United States.
The global study consists of two surveys - one cantering on college students, the other involving young professionals in their 20s. Each survey included 100 respondents from each of 14 countries, resulting in a survey pool of 2,800 respondents.
The 14 countries include the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, India, China, Japan and Australia.
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