In a fierce jobs market, ’click happy’ workers should think carefully about their online footprint before posting about their negative out-of-work experiences online.

People are more likely than ever before to take to the web to complain, according to new research from Computer People. The IT recruitment specialists polled 1000 workers on their attitudes to complaining online and the majority (51 per cent) admit to posting comments about a negative experience on internet sites.

An online complaint or negative post (for example after receiving poor customer service from an online retailer) may seem an effective way of making a point, but career changers could be unintentionally damaging their online image, warns Computer People.

With that in mind, a reactive online rant after an incredibly frustrating ‘please hold, your call is valuable to us’ experience, may help to get grievances off the chest but could prove career-limiting in the long run. Complaining online can be an effective way of conveying a point, but doing so in a polite and measured fashion will prevent those spur-of-the-moment comments being misconstrued.

Just as candidates are developing increased awareness of what’s on their social media profiles, it is now becoming routine for employers to vet potential candidates more widely online. Applying for a job is now about so much more than just the CV and a reference. Businesses want to absorb as much information as they can from potential hires and therefore they research candidates’ web activities in depth.

As the most active group of online complainers, young professionals run the highest risk of a previous comment landing them in hot water. Over four in five (83 per cent) 16-24 year olds have taken to the keyboard to air their grievances online.

Men narrowly edge out women in the complaints stakes, with 10 per cent and 9 per cent respectively describing themselves as ‘regularly’ taking issue with a company or experience online. Meanwhile, Welsh workers are the most likely to vent online, with 17 per cent ‘regularly’ complaining, whilst a mere 5 per cent of employees in the South East do the same.

Sid Barnes, Executive Director, Computer People, said, “It’s a well known fact that it’s incredibly difficult to cover online tracks once they’re made. The last thing a candidate wants is an off-the-cuff complaint to affect their professional reputation in an interview with a potential employer. While employees are becoming increasingly social-media savvy and utilising privacy settings, rude complaints on other sites could just slip though the net.

“It is always wise to think carefully before making a negative comment about an organisation or complaining in a space that it viewable to all. That’s not to say you can’t complain online – it can be a highly effective medium – but it is worth ensuring any comments are polite and reasonable.”