Attracting young talent: Big $ not enough

by 15 Nov 2011

A new study has found young professionals are seeking inspirational work environments that accommodate social media, device freedom and remote work options – and they’re prepared to take a lower salary to get it.

The desire of young professionals and university students to use social media, mobile devices, and the internet more freely in the workplace is even strong enough to influence their future job choice and career direction, according to the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report.

The findings highlighted the seriousness of the next-generation workforce's demand to work with more flexibility.

Further, the report indicated that traditional methods of attracting and retaining young employees may become less important, or redundant, as Generation Y comprises more of the workforce.

Key findings from the report included:

  • One in three university 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 mark a tangible shift in motivational factors.
  • More than two of five university 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 university 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.
  • About two of three university students (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.
  • In reality, more than two of five employees (41%) said their companies marketed a flexible device and social media policy to recruit and attract them.
  • 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 Gen Y can provide in utilising technology to help companies' efficiency and competitive advantage.
  • A majority of university students globally - seven of every 10 (71%) - 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 university 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.
  • Currently, more than half of employees (57%) can connect to their corporate network from some remote locations, but only one out four (28%) can do so at anytime, from any location. Two in five (43%) 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 university students (70%) believe it is unnecessary to be in the office regularly, with the exception of an important meeting. In fact, one in four feels 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.


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