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I’ll Trade My Facebook Profile in Exchange for Job Security

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Posted on Aug 19, 2014

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Researchers are predicting that increasing numbers of people will be willing to give their employers access to their social media profiles in order to keep their jobs, according to a study reported in The Guardian. The rise is occurring especially among younger workers, a survey of 10,500 people by consulting firm PwC found. Similar to the way advertisers use such personal data, employers hope the information will allow them to better understand their workers’ likes and what motivates them.

The research claims that younger people are more open to sharing their personal data with their employers, with 36% of Generation Y workers saying they would be happy to do so.

[...] Cary Cooper, distinguished professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University, said there were obvious pitfalls. “First of all, it is naive to think that if you trade off your privacy rights (eg access to one’s social media) that an employer can ever guarantee job security,” he said.

“Second, I can’t see, if an employer had access to an employee’s social media, how this could possibly lead to greater employee motivation or wellbeing. This seems a plain case of trying to find out what employees are doing and thinking—clearly an intrusion into their private life. I see no HR justification for it whatsoever.”

With mounting student debt and a generation of workers for the first time in years expecting to earn less than their parents, privacy is clearly less of a priority.


—Posted by Donald Kaufman

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