Tuesday, 21st September 2010
Nancy Davis Kho
A survey released this week by specialised staffing firm Robert Half International shows that employees in the United Arab Emirates are among the most active on social and professional networking platforms. At the same time, UAE users are among the most likely to be constrained on use of social media tools by the companies for which they work.
The survey queried more than 3,000 Human Resources and Finance/Accounting managers from 13 countries in Europe, South America and the Middle East, and the results are on Robert Half's UAE website at http://digbig.com/5bckdr . Among the key findings:
- Sixty-six percent of respondents in the UAE said they use social or professional networking sites at least 'somewhat actively' (a minimum of two to three times per week), compared to the global average of 49 percent of respondents. Respondents from Brazil (75%), Spain (72%) and Ireland (70%) were more likely to identify themselves as more active users than those from the UAE.
- The most cited reason by UAE respondents for using social networks was gaining knowledge and experience from peers (56%), versus using networking sites for career opportunities (8%) or for recruitment (7%).
- More than half of those surveyed in the UAE said they would check the online profile of a candidate when they are looking to fill an open position.
When it comes to company endorsement of such social networking, however, the UAE lags its European and North American counterparts. Fifty-four percent of respondents in the UAE are forbidden from accessing social media sites at work, putting it at the top of the 'most restrictive' list of the 13 companies included in the survey. Netherlands was at the other end, with only 14% of respondents saying they are prevented from accessing social networking sites at work, and the global average came in at 37%.
All of this reiterates the gap between what companies think they're doing vis-à-vis social networking, and what's likely happening under their noses. The UAE is the most restrictive country in the survey, yet their users are among the most active on social networks and say they find utility in the platforms for gaining knowledge and learning from peers - surely activities that most companies would support.
This study underlines the need for every company to take a proactive approach to articulating a social media policy for. For a terrific example, check out the Salesforce.com policy video - clear, common sense, and concise. http://digbig.com/5bckdq
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