College Grads Say Salary Is Less Important than Facebook Freedom at Work

One in three college grads said that access to social media sites like Facebook and the ability to choose their own devices was more important to them than salary when considering a job offer. This according to a study of 2,800 college students and young professionals worldwide conducted by Cisco. More than 40% went so far as to say that they would accept less money for a job that was down with social media at work on a device of their choosing if it also included telework.

The study was intended to determine what the Millennium Generation wants from employers and what they consider to be an equitable work/life balance. Not surprisingly, they overwhelmingly wanted flexible work hours and remote access, with about one-third of college students saying that once they begin working, it will be their right – not a privilege – to be able to work remotely with a flexible schedule.

But the shocker was how strongly these young adults felt about limitations on their social media time.
  • Over half of college students globally (56%) said that if they were offered a job at a company that banned access to social media, they would either turn it down, or ignore it.
  • Two-thirds said they will ask about social media usage policies during job interviews.
  • 41% of those in the workforce said their companies convinced them to take the job by offering them flexible device choice and friendly social media policies when recruiting them.
  • At the same time, almost a third of the employees (31%) said their expertise with social media and devices actually helped land them the job -- employers believing that such know-how would give the company a competitive advantage.

One in three young workers say social media freedom is more important than pay. (source: Cisco Systems)

The demand for flexibility extends to device choice as well.
  • 81% want to choose the device for their job – either receiving funds to purchase the work device or bringing in a personal one in addition to standard company-issued devices.
  • More than three-quarters (77%) have multiple devices, such as a laptop and a smartphone or multiple phones and computers.
  • One-third (33%) use at least three devices for work.
  • 68% believe their companies should allow them to access social media and personal sites with their work-issued devices.
The next workforce clearly believes that work/life balance means that they are melded together, not separate-but-equal. With that view, work spills into social time and social time into work. Social tools also become work tools. While traditional employers may view Facebook or IM as fooling around on the job, social media sites may one day replace e-mail as the collaboration tool of choice for workers. Companies that ban them or view them as evil will not attract new talent, this study suggests, and could make themselves fall woefully behind.