Cisco study finds young workers want access, not money

Mobility and social media more valuable than a paycheck?

Forget paying our best and brightest to work for your company. Give them what they really want: a mobile device with Internet access.

According to Cisco's latest study, young professionals and college students might value Internet-connected mobility and social networking in the workplace over monetary compensation. And the company that more freely embraces social media during business hours may be more attractive to the job applicant.

Indeed, half of the respondents in Cisco's study said they would rather lose their wallet or purse than their smartphone or mobile device.

These are the findings of the second segment Cisco's Connected World Technology Report. The first segment found that young people consider the Internet to be a vital daily resource and requirement, and that most feel it is so integral to their lives they'd take it over cars, dating and partying.

I feel an Occupy IT movement coming on...

The Cisco study queried more than 2,800 college students and young professionals under the age of 30 in 14 countries. It found that one-third would prioritize social media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility over salary in accepting a job offer. Forty percent to 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.

Most college students 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. One in four overall -- 24% -- said social media access will be a key factor in their decision to accept an offer. About 68% of employees surveyed believe companies should allow them to access social media and personal sites with their work-issued devices.

And companies might be amenable to that. Forty-one percent of those employed in the survey said their companies actually marketed a flexible device and social media policy to recruit and attract them. And 31% felt their comfort level with social media and mobile devices was a factor in their hiring.

And then there are the more conservative workplaces. For companies that block remote access to corporate data or for those that have strict policies regarding remote access, 29% of the surveyed employees said that would influence whether they worked at that company, or how long and hard they worked at that company. An equal number of college students felt just as strongly about this: 29% said that once they begin working, it will be their right -- more than a privilege -- to be able to work remotely with a flexible schedule.

And more than half of all respondents want to access corporate information over their home computers and personal mobile devices. But it won't stop there: the next generation of the world's workforce expects to access corporate networks and applications on numerous non-company devices, such as car navigation screens, seatback screens on airplanes, and televisions, the Cisco study found.

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