Workers worried online past may damage career prospects

Workers worried online past may damage career prospects

It is good to see people doing weird stuff on photocopiers with their clothes on for a change.

The latest Kelly Global Workforce Index shows that 25% of New Zealand men and 22% of women are worried that material from their social networking sites could adversely impact their careers.

30% of women and 28% of men admit to deliberately censoring or editing their personal social network content, to protect their current employment or future career prospects.

Kelly Services managing director Debbie Grenfell says the survey shows that while social media is becoming active as an employment tool, so too is apprehension about the damage it can have on careers.

“We are finding more people are using social networks to look for work because it allows them to target exactly the job they want, and even the organisation where they want to work,” says Debbie Grenfell.

“Even though a small percentage of people (1%) actually secured their most recent job through social networking, 17 percent are scouring social media sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, seeking job openings.”

“At the same time, social networks are becoming an increasingly valuable tool for employers looking to find someone who is the right fit for their organisation.”

Despite their concerns, many Kiwis also believe being active online is essential for their career development, with 27% of men and 21% of women using their social networks to improve their job prospects.

Younger workers rely more heavily on social networking, with 33% of Gen Y (aged 18-29) respondents say it is essential to be active in social media in order to advance their careers.


Many of the employees who post drunken photos and possible inappropriate comments on their personal networking pages, are perhaps not that concerned about possible consequences.

Usually these employees have been immune from their off-duty thoughts and antics bring discovered because managers have tended to be technophobes.

Now we are are seeing managment deciding to ‘Google’ their employees names on a more regular basis out of curiosity to see what they are up too on the web.

Pre-employment ‘online’ checks are already done in some workplaces. It is increasingly likely that recruitment agencies – always on the lookout for new income streams – will be trumpeting checks as the new ‘must have’ to help find the right employee.

Many of the larger employers will be adding online checks to their recruitment checklist. Once several do it then the rest tend to fall into line with what is seen as the new ‘best practice’.

The more extreme examples of social media postings have resulted in sackings for dangerous ‘planking’ episodes done at work and posted online.

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