Generation Y 'friending' Facebook colleagues, insight on career prospects (survey)

Young people are using Facebook for personal over professional reasons, yet they are 'friending' their coworkers, with an average of 16 co-workers in each 'friend' group.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Social networking is a popular method for young people to stay connected with their friends, and keep in the loop concerning activities and events. However, a new survey by Millennial Branding suggests that the lines between the personal and the professional are beginning to blur.

Millennial Branding is a Boston-based agency that runs social media campaigns and marketing analysis for companies and entrepreneurs. Using Identified.com's database on Facebook, over 50 million users from Facebook were studied for the Gen Y survey.

1.2 billion data points including work history, education and demographic data were collated for the report, resulting in findings that suggest many of the Gen Y are 'friending' co-workers, perhaps without considering the consequences.


The Gen Y are using social networks as an extension of their professional profile, even though they are also using the same platforms to socialize with family and friends. 64 percent of the group do not list their employer on their profiles, yet they add an average of 16 co-workers each to their contact lists.

84 percent include at least one co-worker on their profile, 53 percent have five or more, and 40 percent 'friend' more than ten colleagues.

According to Dan Schawbel, Founder of Millennial Branding, the Generation Y should consider more carefully whether to blur the lines between the personal and professional:

"Gen Y needs to be aware that what they publish online can come back to haunt them in the workplace. Gen Y managers and co-workers have insight into their social lives, which could create an awkward workplace setting or even result in a termination."

The Internet is littered with examples. These include an Apple employee given the boot through Facebook, to reports suggesting growing numbers of potential employers research social networking profiles before offering jobs to candidates.

There are a number of things on one's Facebook account, for example, that employers probably shouldn't see. Last night's photos will be uploaded eventually, and employers probably prefer to see you in a suit rather than photographed being carried home after a night on gin.

There is a reason why 'work' and 'play' are kept as separate concepts.

The study also gave a valuable insight in to the current economic situation and prospects for the younger generation. The top five job roles stated by the Generation Y Facebook users are:

  • Servers -- 2.9 percent
  • Managers -- 2.5 percent
  • Intern -- 2.3 percent
  • Sales Associate -- 1.7 percent
  • Owner -- 1.2 percent

Only 7 percent of Gen Y currently works for a Fortune 500 company, and 10 percent have at least one job record of previously doing so. These statistics could be a serious future problem for large corporations. If the younger generation are not entering in to the corporate culture, they are not being given the training or skills to possess these careers in the future.

Gen Y will form 75 percent of the workforce by 2025 -- but how many will have the work experience and skills to contribute to Fortune 500?

As many of the Gen Y are having difficulty securing job placements, they often turn to 'dead end' jobs just to stay afloat. The travel and hospitality industry claimed an incredible 7.2 percent of the generation, with consumer products coming in close second at 6.8 percent.

The US Military is the largest overall employer, and Deloitte is the largest corporate employer. Walmart and Starbucks claimed .53 percent and .45 percent between them.

According to the study, the younger generation are a group of 'job hoppers', spending an average of only 2 years within their first placement. This behaviour continues as they move jobs multiple times within their careers. It seems that while 80 percent of Gen Y list at least one school entry, only 36 percent list their place of work.

This may be due to the current job market offering little security, and a preference to be defined by their education rather than a workplace which may be little more than temporary. When job security is at a low point, our individual identities have to become shaped by other factors.

For more information, view the infographic.

Image source: Flickr.


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