Passive Brits miss out on social media work benefits

Americans more career-focussed and better at building professional networks online

British professionals are less career-focussed than their American peers and are also far less likely to use social media to build their networks, share knowledge and look for jobs, new research from YouGov reveals.

The study among employees in the United States and the United Kingdom found that British workers are less savvy when it comes to furthering their careers through social media. Fewer than four in ten (38%) professionals in the UK use social media for work purposes compared to more than half (51%) of their American counterparts, while around a fifth (19%) of British employees have used social media to look for a job, compared to almost a quarter (24%) or US professionals.

Additionally, YouGov found that while fewer than one in five (18%) workers in the UK have been approached on social media about a job, this figures increases to just under three in ten (29%) employees in the US. American professionals are also more likely to use social media to share knowledge with others in their field (47% vs 39%), and to agree that social media makes it easier to collaborate in their own organisation (34% vs 24%).

British are less driven

The research found that British workers are much less driven in pursuing their career goals than their American counterparts. Some 56% of UK employees are always on the look-out for opportunities to learn new things and develop their skills, a figure that pales against that for American professionals (79%). Furthermore, employees in the US are much more likely to know where they want their career to be in five years’ time and how they’re going to get there (55% vs 40% of UK workers).

This lack of defined ambition among British employees manifests itself in a more passive approach to career development. While a third (34%) of American professionals would prefer to move on instead wait if their employer doesn’t offer progression within an acceptable timeframe, just over a quarter (26%) of British workers would do the same.

British professionals are more LinkedIn

Despite being less engaged with social media generally, British employees are more active on LinkedIn than their American peers. Almost seven in ten (69%) UK workers have used LinkedIn for professional networking in the past month compared to just six in ten (60%) professionals across the Atlantic.

Ian Neale, Associate Director at YouGov, says: 'People in the US and UK have different attitudes towards their careers. The American approach is very much in keeping with their “up-and-at-’em” ethos while the British way is much more in keeping with a more reserved character. While it is debatable which path is best, it seems unarguable that Americans are far superior at harnessing the power of social media to benefit their careers and professionals in the UK could learn a lot from them. British employees’ use LinkedIn is a good starting point but they need to learn how to turn this into hard benefits for their work lives.'

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