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One in 10 will lose out on a job because of social media

By Michael Mayday , May 30, 2013 07:36 PM EDT
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It's a fairly well-known fact that what you say on social media can affect your employment, but for young Americans, where unemployment for those aged 20 to 24 hovers 13.1 percent, that Facebook update can be the difference between a steady paycheck and an unemployment benefits.

Too bad that age group, and other age groups surrounding it, knowingly ignores the risks of sharing posts on social media.

A recent survey by On Device Research - encompassing 17,657 people across six countries, including China, India, the U.S. and the UK - found that one in 10 of people aged 16 to 34 were either turned down for employment or fired due to comments or pictures posted on social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

That's particularly the case in China, where 16 percent of those aged 16 to 24, and 14 percent of those aged 25 to 34, said weren't employed thanks to what they shared on social media websites. For the U.S., those statistics are nine percent and six percent, respectively.

The study found, however, that nearly two-thirds of groups surveyed aren't concerned that their use of social media may harm future job prospects. That's particularly true in the U.S. and the UK, where 71 percent and 70 percent of those surveyed said they weren't concerned that their social media postings could turn off prospective employers.

That's because most social media users, the study found, tailor their social media profiles to target friends and family, rather than employers looking to fill a position.

"Better education of the impact of social media is needed, to ensure young people are not making it even harder for themselves to get on the career ladder," Sarah Quinn, marketing manager for On Device Research said in a prepared statement.

There have been several public incidents in the U.S. where employers have fired employees for posts on social media sites, inspiring a national debate over the practice. Several states, as CNET notes, have crafted laws preventing employers from firing employees for posts made on social media networks, though there is no federal law barring the practice.

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