Study: Millennials' Facebook Use Melds Work, Personal Lives

Millennials Generation Y Facebook work useMore people are jumping on the social media bandwagon. And for workers who post on popular social networking websites, such as Facebook and Twitter, the line between what to share with co-workers and friends is increasingly blurred.

That's especially true of younger workers. A recent study shows that many millennials -- those aged 18 to 29, also known as Generation Y -- use Facebook for personal use more so than for professional reasons, even as they are "friending" co-workers on the site.

Sixty-four percent of Gen Y members fail to note an employer on their Facebook profiles, according to the study by social-media strategy firm Millennial Branding. Yet the average member of Gen Y adds 16 co-workers to a "friend" group.

The survey of 4 million Gen Y Facebook profiles also reveals that many are inadvertently used as an extension of the member's professional personality, with 25 percent noting an employer, even though the user is socializing with family and friends.

That can be problematic, says Millennial Branding founder Dan Schawbel, who routinely works with large employers in developing corporate-branding strategies aimed at the youth market.

"Gen Y needs to be aware that what they publish online can come back to haunt them in the workplace," Schawbel says in a statement accompanying the results of the study. "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."

Further, he tells AOL Jobs, Facebook users who have hundreds or even thousands of "friends" may lose track of all those contacts and may suddenly find that some have unknowingly become co-workers or clients.

Other findings about Generation Y from the study include:

  • Eighty percent list at least one school entry on their Facebook profiles, while only 36 percent list a job entry. They define themselves by their colleges instead of their workplaces.
  • On average, they spend a bit more than two years at their first job, and are job hopping multiple times in their careers. Only 7 percent of them work for Fortune 500 companies, with many instead focusing on starting their own businesses. Large corporations seeking to remain competitive need to aggressively recruit younger workers.
  • Members of Generation Y are forecast to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, according to the Business and Professional Women's Foundation, and are actively shaping corporate culture and expectations.
  • The travel and hospitality industry currently hires the largest number. Many young workers have turned to food service after difficulty finding other jobs.
  • The U.S. military is the largest overall employer of Gen Y and Deloitte is the largest corporate employer.

For more about Generation Y and Facebook, check out the infographic below:



Next: Views On Employee Loyalty Shift With Generations [Infographic]



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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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