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18 August 2014

Young workers would trade social media privacy for job security.

A third of young workers would be happy to let their employer monitor their social media activity if it meant greater job security, according to research from PwC.

PwC’s report, The future of work: A journey to 2022, says that monitoring workers’ social media and personal data will become commonplace as employers strive to understand what motivates their workforce, why people might move jobs and to improve employee wellbeing.

PwC’s global survey of 10,000 workers and 500 human resource (HR) professionals says that employers could routinely monitor workers’ Facebook and Twitter postings to ensure that company policies are focused on reducing staff turnover and reinforcing engagement with business objectives.

PwC predicts that data monitoring of employees will increase over the next decade as Generation Y is absorbed into the workforce – by 2020 around half of the global workforce will be aged 18-32, bringing different attitudes to work, technology and personal data.

Research into Generation Y suggests that a new cohort of young people are increasingly rejecting the long hours and gruelling work regimes of their parents and favour a ‘work to live’ rather than a ‘live to work’ attitude to career and employment.

The research reveals that this younger generation is more open to sharing their personal data with their employees, with 36% of Generation Y workers saying they would be happy to do so.

Anthony Bruce, HR workforce analytics leader at PwC, said:

“Just as advertisers and retailers are using data from customers’ online and social media activity to tailor their shopping experience, organisations could soon start using workers’ personal data - with their permission - to measure and anticipate performance and retention issues.

“This sort of data profiling could also extend to real-time monitoring of employees’ health, with proactive health guidance to help reduce sick leave.

“Key to the success of organisations being able to use employee data will be developing measurable benefits for those who hand over their data and building trust through clear rules about how data is acquired, used and shared.”

The PwC report reveals a number of projections for what the future of work might look like, with technology seen by both workers and HR professionals as the biggest factor transforming the workplace over the next five to 10 years.

While the research reveals that the majority of workers (64%) view technology advances as improving their job prospects, a quarter of workers are worried that automation is could put their job at risk.

About the report

  1. PwC’s report ‘The future of work: A journey to 2022’ is based on a survey of 10,000 people in China, India, Germany, the UK and the US who told us how they think the workplace will evolve and how this will affect their employment practices and future working lives. Further input came from 500 HR professionals across the world
  2. The research identifies three ‘worlds of work’, which set out scenarios on how organisations might operate in the future and who might want to work for them. The three worlds are:
  • Blue World - where corporate is king and there's a relentless pressure to perform. These elite organisations push back the borders of innovation and possibility, employ only the best, and offer long-term job security and reward. Only 10% saw this as their ideal employer.
  • Green World - the caring companies, that rethink their values and goals, have a powerful social and environmental conscience, and whose values closely match those of their employees. 53% of those surveyed chose this as their ideal employer.
  • Orange World - where small is beautiful; these organisations fragment into looser networks, brought together by technology, with social media heightening the connectivity. 33% opted for this as their ideal employer.

  Download Future-of-work-report

Contact details

Email: John Compton

Tel: +44 (0)28 9041 5663