Demonstrating the increasing role of the network in people’s lives, an international workforce study announced by Cisco revealed that one in three college students and young professionals considers the Internet to be as important as fundamental human resources like air, water, food and shelter.
The report also found that more than half of the study’s respondents say they could not live without the Internet and cite it as an “integral part of their lives” – in some cases more integral than cars, dating, and partying.
These and numerous other findings provide insight into the mindset, expectations, and behavior of the world’s next generation of workers and how they will influence everything from business communications and mobile lifestyles to hiring, corporate security, and companies’ abilities to compete.
Internet as One of Life’s Fundamental Resources
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Air, Water, Internet: One of every three college students and employees surveyed globally (33%) believes the Internet is a fundamental resource for the human race – as important as air, water, food and shelter. About half (49% of college students and 47% of employees) believe it is “pretty close” to that level of importance. Combined, four of every five college students and young employees believe the Internet is vitally important as part of their daily life’s sustenance.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Life’s Daily Sustenance: More than half of the respondents (55% of college students and 62% of employees) said they could not live without the Internet and cite it as an “integral part of their lives.”
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The New Way to Get Around: If forced to make a choice between one or the other, the majority of college students globally – about two of three (64%) – would choose an Internet connection instead of a car.
The Use of Mobile Devices for Accessing Information…and the End of TV and Newspapers?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Importance of Mobile Devices: Two-thirds of students (66%) and more than half of employees (58%) cite a mobile device (laptop, smartphone, tablet) as “the most important technology in their lives.”
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Continued Rise of Smartphones and Mobility: Smartphones are poised to surpass desktops as the most prevalent tool from a global perspective, as 19% of college students consider smartphones as their “most important” device used on a daily basis, compared to 20% for desktops – an indication of the growing trend of smartphone prominence and expected rise in usage by the next generation of college graduates upon entering the workforce. This finding fans the debate over the necessity of offices compared to the ability to connect to the Internet and work anywhere, such as at home or in public settings. In the 2010 edition of the study, three of five employees globally (60%) said offices are unnecessary for being productive.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ TV’s Decline: Both surveys indicate that the TV’s prominence is decreasing among college students and young employees in favor of mobile devices like laptops and smartphones. Globally, fewer than one in 10 college students (6%) and employees (8%) said the TV is the most important technology device in their daily lives. As TV programming and movies become available on mobile devices, this downward trend is expected to continue.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Paper Route’s Dead End? Only one of 25 college students and employees (4%) surveyed globally said the newspaper is their most important tool for accessing information.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Saving Trees: One of five students (21%) have not bought a physical book (excluding textbooks required for class) in a bookstore in more than two years – or never at all.
Influence of Social Media – And Distractions in Daily Life
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Facebook Interaction: About nine of 10 (91%) college students and employees (88%) globally said they have a Facebook account – of those, 81 percent of college students and 73% of employees check their Facebook page at least once a day. One of those three (33%) said they check at least five times a day.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Online Interruption or Disruption? College students reported constant online interruptions while doing projects or homework, such as instant messaging, social media updates and phone calls. In a given hour, more than four out of five (84%) college students said they are interrupted at least once. About one in five students (19%) said they are interrupted six times or more – an average of at least once every 10 minutes. One of 10 (12%) said they lose count how many times they are interrupted while they are trying to focus on a project.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Work Is Life: In a sign that the boundary between work and personal lives is becoming thinner, seven of 10 employees “friended” their managers and/or co-workers on Facebook, indicating the dissolution of boundaries separating work and private life. Culturally, the United States featured lower percentages of employees friending managers and co-workers – only about one in four (23%) – although two of five friended their co-workers (40%).
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The Work Grapevine: Of employees who use Twitter, more than two of every three (68%) follow the Twitter activity of either their manager or colleagues; 42% follow both, while one-third (32%) prefer to keep their personal lives private.