More than half of Aussie workers job-hunting during business hours

Thousands of Australian workers are hunting for another job during work hours, according to research released today.

The survey, by job-matching website OneShift, found 52% of respondents had looked for a new job during work hours – with one in ten saying they had been caught by their boss.

Gen George, chief executive at OneShift, says while it isn’t surprising so many people are looking for work, it is certainly remarkable that people are doing so during office hours.

“You’d think getting caught would be a fairly strong disincentive, but apparently not,” she said in a statement accompanying the research.

George believes online job boards and professional networking services are responsible for this shift in behaviour.

“People no longer wait until the weekend to scan the employment section of the newspaper, circling jobs of interest with a big red marker,” she said.

Margaret Harrison, from Our HR Company, told SmartCompany online job boards are certainly changing the way people search for jobs. However, she says there is no harm in looking for work.

“Things are now picking up in Australia so there’s going to be some really good opportunities,” she said. “Especially young people – they should be looking out for what’s around. As long as they’re not taking all day, I don’t see the harm.”

Harrison says there isn’t much that employers can do to stop employees looking for jobs on the internet during work hours.

“Employers can do very little,” she said. “It’s just the way of the world these days.”

However, if bosses do catch their staff job-hunting during office hours, Harrison says they can always sit down and have a chat.

“Have a policy and talk to your staff about it,” she says. “The biggest problem that comes to us is that people are complaining about holiday searches. I think it goes on more at work than job searching.”

Harrison says staff will often come back to their work refreshed or inspired if allowed to access the internet during their lunch break. However, the best way to tackle this issue is to take a blanket approach rather than targeting job-hunting specifically.

“If you do have a problem with it you need to have a total internet policy,” she says.

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