USA & BANGALORE, INDIA: The desire of young professionals and college students to use social media, mobile devices, and the Internet more freely in the workplace is strong enough to influence their future job choice, sometimes more than salary does, according to an international study published by Cisco.
This and other findings highlighted in the second chapter of the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report characterize the seriousness of the next-generation workforce’s demand to work remotely with more flexibility in their choice of devices. This demand illustrates the importance of the relationship between the Internet, workforce culture, and companies’ competitive advantages, and surprisingly indicates that traditional methods of attracting and retaining young employees may be less important as the ‘Millennial’ generation comprises more of the workforce.
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.
Impact on job choice and salary
* The study revealed that one in three college students and young employees under the age of 30 (33 percent) said that they would prioritize 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.
* Mobile networking, device flexibility, and the blending of personal and work lifestyles are key components of a work environment and culture that are increasingly important in determining which companies will land the next wave of industry talent.
* More than two of five college students (40 percent) and young employees (45 percent) 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. In India, 57 percent of employees surveyed confirmed they would accept the job option that paid less but offered device flexibility and remote accessibility.
Influence of social media and mobile device policies on job choice
* More than half of college students globally (56 percent) said 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.
* About two of three college students (64 percent) said they plan to ask about social media usage policies during job interviews, and one in four overall (24 percent) said it will be a key factor in their decision to accept an offer.
* In reality, more than two of five employees (41 percent) said their companies marketed a flexible device and social media policy to recruit and attract them. This percentage was the same in India, where 41 percent of students confirmed their preference toward companies that offered flexibility with devices and social media.
* Almost a third of the employees globally (31 percent) 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 utilizing technology to help companies’ efficiency and competitive advantage.
Influence of remote access and flexible work hours on job choice
* For those employees who are prohibited from accessing corporate networks and applications remotely, the top reason among employees is corporate policies (48 percent), including influence by corporate culture and resistance to enabling a more distributed communications culture.
* Despite this, employees are expecting greater work flexibility. At least one in four employees (29 percent) globally said the absence of remote access would influence their job decisions, such as leaving companies sooner rather than later, slacking off, or declining job offers outright. In India, 27 percent of students would base their job acceptance on being allowed to work remotely, the highest percentage amongst all nations surveyed.
Importance of mobile devices
* The importance of devices and the information they carry rivals the importance of money. Half of college students and young employees (49 percent) said they would rather lose their wallet or purse than their smartphone or mobile device. India (81 percent) and China (85 percent) rated highest amongst the nations who expect their primary work device to be mobile (laptop, tablet, smartphone).
* The days of one device are over. More than three of every four employees (77 percent) have multiple devices, such as a laptop and a smartphone or multiple phones and computers. One in three employees globally (33 percent) uses at least three devices for work.
* As evidenced in the data above, a majority of college students globally – seven of every 10 (71 percent) – believe that company-issued devices should be allowed for personal and business use because of the blending of work and personal communications in their daily lifestyle.
* Four of five college students (81 percent) 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.
* About seven in 10 employees (68 percent) believe their companies should allow them to access social media and personal sites with their work-issued devices.
* More than two out of five college students globally (42 percent) believe companies should be flexible and empathetic to their need to stay connected via social media and personal websites.
Attitudes toward workplace flexibility and remote network access
* Three out of five students globally (60 percent) feel that once they begin working, it will be their right – more than a privilege – to be able to work remotely with a flexible schedule.
* Currently, more than half of employees (57 percent) can connect to their corporate network from some remote locations, but only one out four (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.
* Seven of 10 college students (70 percent) 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 percent believing office attendance was unnecessary on a regular basis. In contrast, the 2010 report showed that three of five (60 percent) 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 emphasizing work flexibility, mobility, and non-traditional workstyles.
* More than half of the college students and employees want to access corporate information over corporate networks using their home computers (63 percent) and personal mobile devices (51 percent).
* In the future, the next generation of the world’s workforce expects to access corporate networks and applications on numerous non-company devices, such as car navigation screens, seatback screens on airplanes, and televisions.