The news has been abuzz thanks to a report that 10 percent of people say they’ve lost a job opportunity because of social media. This kind of news is definitely a big deal, but it’s not the most interesting part of the study released by international mobile research firm On Device last week.
Digging deeper into their research reveals several other nuggets related to social media and the workplace that are much more worrisome–first, that despite this number of people saying social media has impacted their job prospects, nearly 70 percent still say they aren’t concerned with what their social media use today will mean for future career opportunities. Its sort of like an “I know but I don’t really care” attitude, something already seen as a character trait (flaw?) of millenials.
Second, another question reveals that respondents do regularly adjust their profiles in light of how they might appear to others, but the numbers are higher for changes based on what would appeal to friends than what appeals to employers. Not surprisingly countries like China and Nigeria, where governments are known to be more repressive, have much higher rates of social account adjustments for employers–47 and 54 percent, respectively.
These numbers come from the Young People’s Consumer Confidence (YPCC) Index, a survey of 6000 16-34 year olds across six countries (Brazil, China, India, Nigeria, the US and UK) conducted by On Device Research. The index looks at consumer confidence in employment and education among young people to give companies a heads up on trends. The social media specific questions were distributed to a much wider population, up to more than 20,000 across those six countries in the case of the social media firings question, and about 17,000 respondents for the others.
What does this all mean? To borrow a British phrase, young people need to “mind the gap” between what their profiles represent and the expectations of employers. Unless your friends are doing the hiring, applicants can be excluded for a variety of reasons including social media profiles, which can add a layer of difficulty to breaking into a changing market in the first place.