Australians unlikely to tolerate employer access to social media profiles: Report

Employees in the Asia-Pacific region are least likely to tolerate employer access to private social media content, according to a global survey, with 64% voicing their disapproval over the idea.

 

This statistic comes from a report titled When Two Worlds Collide – The Rise of Social Media in the Workforce, which is based on findings from the Kelly Global Workforce Index, an annual survey conducted by Kelly Services.

 

Nearly 170,000 people in 30 countries participated in the survey, including more than 1,400 in Australia. It highlights employees’ attitudes towards social media.

 

For example, more than half of all respondents (56%) believe their employer does not have the right to view their social networking pages.

 

The Asia-Pacific region, which has the highest usage of social media, is also the least likely to tolerate employer access to private social media content, with 64% voicing their disapproval.

 

In contrast, 51% of respondents in the Americas and 56% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) believe their employer does not have the right to view their social networking pages.

 

Employees in the Asia-Pacific are also opposed to the idea of prospective employers viewing their social networking pages, with 64% disapproving of the idea.

 

This compares to 55% of employees in EMEA and 50% of employees in the Americas.

 

The survey also highlights the different attitudes among the main workforce generations.

 

In Australia, 18% of Generation Y workers (aged 19-30) believe it is acceptable to use social media for personal use while at work, compared to 17% of Generation X (aged 31-48) and 11% of baby boomers (aged 49-66).

 

More than 20% of Australian respondents feel it is acceptable to share opinions about work with friends and colleagues on social media, and only 6% of employees have been told to stop using social media during work hours.

 

Karen Colfer, managing director of Kelly Services Australia, says social media has become “almost an entitlement” for many workers, which can be stressful for employers.

 

“[Social media is] something that is a fundamental part of [employees’] communications armoury,” Colfer says.

 

“[However,] there is nervousness about the pitfalls if the personal and professional worlds of social media are allowed to intermingle.”

 

Almost half (48%) of Australians say social media has a negative impact on workplace productivity, while 59% say mixing personal and professional connections through social media can cause problems in the workplace.

 

“The reality is that the spread of social media in the workplace is occurring faster than any rules designed to manage it,” Colfer says.

 

“Employers and managers are still grappling with a host of complex issues relating to privacy, monitoring and access to sensitive business information.”

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