Jobseekers nervous about personal content online

Facebook preferred by gen Y, LinkedIn by gen X, boomers: Survey

More than one-in-four Canadians are going online in their hunt for work but many are growing nervous about the potential career fallout from personal content on social networking sites, according to a survey released by global workforce solutions provider Kelly Services.

More than one-quarter (27 per cent) of respondents secured their most recent position through an online job posting, ahead of word-of-mouth referrals (21 per cent, recruitment or staffing firms (19 per cent), direct approaches from employers (15 per cent), "other" methods (10 per cent), print advertisements (seven per cent) and social media sites (one per cent).

Even though only a small percentage of people actually secured their most recent job through social networking, 24 per cent are using social media sites, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, to search for job openings or promotions, found the Kelly Global Workforce Index, which surveyed about 97,000 people in 30 countries, including more than 4,000 in Canada.

While social media is on the rise as an employment tool, so too is apprehension about the damage it can have to careers. More than one-third of respondents admit to deliberately editing content on their social networking pages to avoid career problems.

"Although online job boards remain the leading resource in Canada, the use of social media as a job-search tool is becoming increasingly more common," said Karin French, vice-president and managing director of Canadian operations at Kelly Services. "Candidates and employers are becoming more adept in using this medium and we will continue to see a shift towards social networking as a means to find work."

Facebook is the most popular social media site for generation Y (aged 18-29) to look for work but LinkedIn is the preferred platform for generation X (aged 30-47) and baby boomers (aged 48-65), found the survey.

More than one-third (34 per cent) of gen-Y respondents said it is essential to be active on social media to advance their careers but only 28 per cent of generation X and 20 per cent of baby boomers feel the same way.

"It's clear that social networking is changing the way that people seek out work and engage in conversations about work opportunities. Like any emerging technology, job seekers will educate themselves on the positives and negatives of these tools, and will utilize the best elements of social sites to advance their careers," said French.

Despite the rise in popularity of social networking, 68 per cent of respondents said they spend one hour or less per day on social media sites, while 20 per cent spend no time at all. Only 12 percent spend one hour or more each day.

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