Do Recent College Grads Abuse Technology? HR Pros Think So

By Brittany Ballenstedt

March 14, 2013

Entry-level workers not only continue to bring a sense of entitlement into the workplace; nearly half also abuse information technology in some way.

That’s the assessment of a new report by the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania, which conducts an annual survey of human resources professionals to gauge employers’ experiences with recent college graduates. 

Just more than 50 percent of those surveyed said that IT abuses have increased over the past five years, with 49 percent estimating that entry-level hires abuse IT in some way.

The most common types of IT abuse in the workplace were text messaging at inappropriate times (74 percent), inappropriate use of the Internet (66 percent), excessive use of Twitter and Facebook (65 percent), excessive personal calls on cell phones (60 percent), and text messaging and emailing when direct conversation is more appropriate (56 percent), the study found. 

Aside from IT, the study gave entry-level workers the usual bad rap of being unfocused, unprofessional and entitled, and lacking an appropriate work ethic. Most respondents (79 percent) attributed the lack of focus among young workers to technology interruptions.

“It is time for employees to wean themselves from the addiction of constantly having to be in contact with others via technology,” the report states. “Twittering or checking Facebook are activities that do not belong on the job." 

Still, it’s a bit of surprise that the study painted the younger generation’s ability to collaborate and use technology in such a negative light, particularly when many employers including federal agencies view such skills as an asset. Employees must be careful to limit their use of technology for personal reasons in the workplace. But at the same time, social media, mobile devices and other tools have been proven invaluable in helping employees collaborate.

What are your thoughts on the study, based on your experiences with entry-level hires in the workplace? Is their affinity toward technology a help or a hindrance at your agency? 

By Brittany Ballenstedt

March 14, 2013