The tide is changing on social media: Survey

by Human Capital27 Sep 2012

Having moved away from outright bans on social media, an employers’ attitude to social media access at work is now impacting on whether or not a candidate will take a job, according to a recruitment survey.

The latest figures from Hays Human Resources* show one in five candidates (19.7%) would turn down a job if they did not have reasonable access to sites such as Facebook at work, prompting the need for organisations to ensure they have up-to-date policies in place.

The survey results suggest employees now and in the future will expect to be allowed a reasonable level of access to social media at work for personal use. It found that half of those surveyed already access social media for personal reasons. Of these, 13.3% said they access it daily, while 36.4% access it occasionally.

Employers seem to agree with the expectations of candidates – 44.3% believe that allowing employees to access social media at work will improve their retention levels. Already one third (33.2%) allow their employees access at work, while 43.2% allow limited access. Just 23.7% allow no access at work. 

However, more than half of those who said they accessed social media at work for personal reasons, did not use their own devices to do so, meaning they were using company equipment. And one quarter (25.3%) of employees said they did not have a clear understanding of how to represent their organisation on social media.  

“It is important to have a social media policy covering how social media is used for work-related matters, the use of it for personal matters at work, and what employees can and cannot say about your organisation in the social media world,” said Lisa Morris, regional director of Hays Human Resources.

“If access to social media sites is allowed during working hours, the purpose of access should be made clear as should the acceptable level of use.”

Top tips for social media policies:


  • Spell out how social media should be used during work hours and if it will be monitored;
  • Make it clear that company email accounts should not be used to sign up for social media sites used for personal reasons;
  • You can request that work-related complaints are brought to the attention of the appropriate internal person rather than made via social media; and
  • Explain how misuse of social media will be dealt with.



*From a Hays white paper, titled Tomorrow’s Workforce, which looks at four key issues affecting the future of Australia’s workforce: the advancement in technology, globalisation of the jobs market, diversity and the rise of the ‘orange collar’ worker.


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