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Over half of teenagers unaware employers look at candidates’ social media profiles

Over half of teenagers are unaware that their social media activity could have a detrimental effect on their employment prospects, according to new research from Adecco.


The study revealed that 51% of 14-year-olds did not know that employers look at a candidate’s social media profile before inviting them to an interview.


There is also a large disparity in social media savviness between state and independent school pupils. Of those educated in the state sector, only 43% said they were aware employers would check social media compared with 79% of independent school students. This reinforces previous Adecco research that showed that independently-schooled students are twice as likely to receive jobs advice compared to students at state schools.


This comes at a time when young people are spending more time on social media than ever before, with the majority of respondents (42%) saying it’s how they would choose to spend a free evening. This compares with 32% choosing to watch TV and only 10% on meeting people in person.


Alex Fleming, managing director at Adecco, said, “Young people need to be aware that what they get up to on social media could make otherwise-qualified candidates unattractive to potential employers. It would be a real shame for talented young people to see their future career prospects damaged because of a poorly-judged tweet or Instagram post.


“This research raises concerns about the quality of career advice that today’s school children are receiving. As the job environment remains challenging, it is crucial that young people do everything they can to maximise their employability and prepare for the world of work. Both schools and employers have a responsibility to ensure the next generation has access to clear, practical guidance that reflects working life today – and that should include advice on social media use.”


This latest finding follows Adecco’s recent research, which found a huge gulf in the advice public and private sector students receive from their schools and from businesses and potential employers. 45% of independent school students receive regular careers guidance from their school, compared to just 13% of students in state schools and 14% of students in academy schools. Meanwhile, 57% of independent school students had received help or guidance from external businesses or employees about what to expect when they start a job, compared to just 25% of state school and 29% of academy students.


Consequently, independent school students have clearer career goals than state school or academy school students. Whilst 45% of the independent schools’ students polled knew which profession or industry they would like to work in, just 21% of state school and 25% of academy students knew what they wanted to do after leaving school.


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