Media Release: The new workplace currency: it’s not just salary, anymore

THE desire of young professionals and college students to use social media, mobile devices, and the internet more freely in the workplace is strong enough to influence their future job choice, sometimes more than salary does, according to an international study published by Cisco.

Begins a spokesperson: “This and other findings highlighted in the second chapter of the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report characterise the seriousness of the next-generation workforce’s demand to work remotely with more flexibility in their choice of devices.

“This demand illustrates the importance of the relationship between the Internet, workforce culture, and companies’ competitive advantages, and surprisingly indicates that traditional methods of attracting and retaining young employees may be less important as the ‘Millennial’ generation comprises more of the workforce.”

Key findings

  • The second annual Cisco Connected World Technology Report, which surveyed more than 2,800 college students and young professionals in 14 countries, was commissioned to assess the challenges that companies face as they strive to balance employee and business needs amid increasing network demands, mobility capabilities and security risks.

Impact on job choice and salary                                                         

  • The study revealed that one in three college students and young employees under the age of 30 (33 per cent) said that they would prioritize social media freedom, device flexibility, and work mobility over salary in accepting a job offer, indicating that the expectations and priorities of the next generation of the world’s workforce is not solely tied to money.
  • Mobile networking, device flexibility, and the blending of personal and work lifestyles are key components of a work environment and culture that are increasingly important in determining which companies will land the next wave of industry talent.
  • More than two of five college students (40 per cent) and young employees (45 per cent) 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.

Influence of social media and mobile device policies on job choice

  • More than half of college students globally (56 per cent) 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.
  • About two of three college students (64 per cent) said they plan to ask about social media usage policies during job interviews, and one in four overall (24 per cent) said it will be a key factor in their decision to accept an offer.
  • In reality, more than two of five employees (41 per cent) said their companies marketed a flexible device and social media policy to recruit and attract them.
  • Almost a third of the employees globally (31 per cent) believe their comfort level with social media and devices was a factor in their hiring – an indication that companies acknowledge the value Millennials provide in utilizing technology to help companies’ efficiency and competitive advantage.

Influence of remote access and flexible work hours on job choice

  • For those employees who are prohibited from accessing corporate networks and applications remotely, the top reason among employees is corporate policies (48 per cent), including influence by corporate culture and resistance to enabling a more distributed communications culture.
  • Despite this, employees are expecting greater work flexibility. At least one in four employees (29 per cent) globally said the absence of remote access would influence their job decisions, such as leaving companies sooner rather than later, slacking off, or declining job offers outright.

Importance of mobile devices

  • The importance of devices and the information they carry rivals the importance of money. Half of college students and young employees (49 per cent) said they would rather lose their wallet or purse than their smartphone or mobile device.
  • The days of one device are over. More than three of every four employees (77 per cent) have multiple devices, such as a laptop and a smartphone or multiple phones and computers. One in three employees globally (33 per cent) uses at least three devices for work.
  • As evidenced in the data above, a majority of college students globally – seven of every ten (71 per cent) –believe that company-issued devices should be allowed for personal and business use because of the blending of work and personal communications in their daily lifestyle.
  • Four of five college students (81 per cent) want to choose the device for their job – either receiving budgeted funds to purchase the work device of their choice or bringing in a personal one in addition to standard company-issued devices.
  • About seven in ten employees (68 per cent) believe their companies should allow them to access social media and personal sites with their work-issued devices.
  • More than two out of five college students globally (42 per cent) believe companies should be flexible and empathetic to their need to stay connected via social media and personal websites.

Attitudes toward workplace flexibility and remote network access

  • Three out of ten students globally (29 per cent) feel that once they begin working, it will be their right – more than a privilege – to be able to work remotely with a flexible schedule.
  • Currently, more than half of employees (57 per cent) can connect to their corporate network from some remote locations, but only one out four (28 per cent) can do so at anytime, from any location. Two in five (43 per cent) consider it a critical function of their job to be able to connect to the network from any location at any time.
  • Seven of ten college students (70 per cent) believe it is unnecessary to be in the office regularly, with the exception of an important meeting   in fact, one in four feel their productivity would increase if they were allowed to work from home or remotely. The global figures were mirrored by employees as well, with 69 per cent believing office attendance was unnecessary on a regular basis. In contrast, the 2010 report showed that three of five (60 per cent) employees (of all ages) believed it was unnecessary to be confined to offices. The 2011 version’s finding indicates that the expectation of the next-generation workforce is increasingly emphasizing work flexibility, mobility, and non-traditional workstyles.
  • More than half of the college students and employees want to access corporate information over corporate networks using their home computers (63 per cent) and personal mobile devices (51 per cent).
  • In the future, 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.

About the study

  • The study was commissioned by Cisco and conducted by InsightExpress, a third-party market research firm based in the United States.
  • Cisco commissioned the study to maintain its understanding of present-day challenges that companies face as they strive to address current and future employee and business needs amid increasing mobility capabilities, security risks, and technologies that can deliver applications and information more ubiquitously – from virtualised data centers and cloud computing to traditional wired and wireless networks.
  • The global study consists of two surveys – one centering on college students, the other involving young professionals in their 20s. Each survey included 100 respondents from each of 14 countries, resulting in a survey pool of 2,800 respondents.
  • The 14 countries include the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Russia, India, China, Japan, and Australia.

Supporting quotes:

  • Sujai Hajela, VP and general manager, wireless networking business unit, Cisco: “The findings in the Cisco Connected World Technology Report provide real-life insight into how information is accessed by college students and young IT professionals and how business communications are changing as a result. In addition to the impact on business communications, the study provides proof that the next generation of employees and their technology demands will influence job decisions, hiring and a new age of work-life balance. How businesses address these demands will inevitably affect their competitive advantage and HR success. It is not just a technology trend anymore – it’s a business trend.”
  • Sheila Jordan, VP Communication and Collaboration IT, Cisco: “These findings among college students and young employees indicate the freedom to access social media and use devices is increasingly important to the next generation of the world’s workforce – in some cases, more important than salary. The results in the Cisco Connected World Technology Report demonstrate how companies need to acknowledge this fact in greater numbers, and respond accordingly – for many industries, the status quo of previous work environments is becoming a thing of the past.”

Supporting resources:

* Read more on the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report:

* Watch an overview of the 2011 Cisco Connected World Technology Report’s findings, featuring an analysis by Cisco executives, along with an infographic and video with highlights of the report at

* Review the findings from the 2010 Cisco Connected World Technology Report, including press releases and Cisco TV broadcasts from last year’s survey:

* Visit Cisco Borderless Networks website

Tags/keywords: Cisco, routing, switching, security, wireless, mobility, Cisco Connected World Technology Report, survey, college, Millennials, newspapers, Twitter, Facebook, workforce, HR.

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