While workers’ use of social media is costing UK business £14 billion a year in lost productivity, nearly two thirds of graduate recruiters are wary of using the channel because of fears over damage to reputation.
According to a survey of 84 graduate recruiters undertaken by the Association of Graduate Recruiters and HR consultancy Penna Barkers, graduate recruiters generally fall into two clear camps – those that are wary about using social media and the rest, which actively embrace it.
One in seven of those questioned even branded the channel as “dangerous”. The biggest concern was that it provides unsuccessful and potential candidates with a very public vehicle to post comments that could be detrimental to employers’ reputations, even if such statements are unfounded or incorrect.
Phill Lane, Penna Barkers’ head of planning, said: “Our ‘Social Media Audit’ found that 95% of organisations believe it is important to keep abreast of this online chatter to fully understand the impact it has on the brand, but 60% feel they simply haven’t got the time to do this. Indeed more than half (56%) feel unable to monitor their reputation well and more than a fifth (21%) don’t do this at all.”
A second study revealed, however, that 55% of UK employees use some form of social networking site during work time, with a third of them (the equivalent of six million people) spending more than half an hour per day at it. Some 6% (the equivalent of two million) spent more than an hour a day on such sites.
The research undertaken among 1,000 staff by regional job site provider MyJobGroup.co.uk estimated that, with GDP valued at £2 trillion last year, this meant that the cost to the economy of such activity was around £14 billion.
Lee Fayer, MyJobGroup’s managing director, said: “While we’re certainly not kill-joys, people spending over an hour per day in work time on the likes of Facebook and Twitter are seriously hampering companies’ efforts to boost productivity, which is more important than ever given the fragile state of our economy.”
As a result, employers would be well advised to monitor the use of such sites during work hours in order to ensure that staff “were not abusing their freedom of access”, he added.
But the study indicated that only 14% of respondents admitted to being less productive as a result of their social media usage, while 10% even claimed that it made them more productive. As a result, more than two thirds advocated some form of access during work hours, with only a third saying that it should be banned.