Do Only Older People Care About Privacy?

At the annual Davos meeting of world leaders, Reid Hoffman, one of the founders of LinkedIn, let an interesting comment slip about privacy. He said “all these concerns about privacy tend to be old people issues.”

Old people issues? In my September B2B CFO newsletter, I let my readers know about some of the unfortunate impacts of changes LinkedIn had made their privacy settings, and how to adjust their settings to maintain their privacy. I got a number of thank yous, both from older recipients of my newsletter and from younger ones.

Marc Cenedella, CEO of The Ladders, a well-known job search site, decided to find out what people of all ages felt about privacy, since LinkedIn is being increasing used by job seekers and by companies for recruiting purposes. The results, excerpted in a press release below, show that people do care about privacy. For example, they don’t want their current employers to know when they are considering other positions.

Privacy 1, LinkedIn 0

Here’s the press release:

November 5, 2011– In today’s age of open Internet sharing, it may seem a contradiction that the majority (88 percent) of Americans surveyed said privacy is important during a job search. TheLadders.com, the leading resource for career-driven professionals, commissioned a survey conducted by Wakefield Research to find out what really matters when searching for your next career move.

While privacy is a major concern, many job seekers are not taking necessary precautions to keep their hunt under the radar. In fact, 37 percent of Americans do not bother to check privacy settings of a website before posting their resume. And a resounding 76 percent mistakenly believe it’s impossible to keep a job search private. While looking for new employment can be overwhelming, keeping your search private is not impossible.

“Americans want their privacy, and we strongly believe that a job search should not require an individual to give it up,” says Marc Cenedella, Founder and CEO of TheLadders. “TheLadders was created with the job seeker in mind, and we pride ourselves on being able to provide privacy to all our members that does not impede on their success to find the job they want.”

To prove the privacy point even further:

  • More than half (55 percent) surveyed say when searching online, keeping their resume private from their peers is more important than maximizing its exposure.
  • Thirty four percent would remove their resume from a website if a coworker saw it.
  • An astounding 30 percent go as far to say it would be worse for coworkers to find out about their job search than an office romance.

“A job search can be one of the most stressful times in an individual’s life,” continued Cenedella. “Those of us in the job industry have a special duty and responsibility to treat privacy with care, because privacy issues are critically important, particularly during economically challenging conditions.”

Millennials Still Play it Safe: While known for spending excessive time online, still nearly half (49 percent) of those surveyed under 35 would not accept an invitation from a recruiter on a professional networking site if their colleagues could see their connections.

Resume Battle of the Sexes: When it comes to being cautious, men have more risky business tendencies than females with 71 percent and 61 percent (respectively) who say they would not remove their resume posted to a website if a coworker saw it.

Regardless of age, sex, or industry, job seekers demand privacy. For more information on how to covertly execute your next job search, please visit TheLadders.com.

Methodology

Wakefield Research (www.WakefieldResearch.com) conducted a survey for TheLadders among 1,000 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and older, using an email invitation and an online survey between October 7th and October 13th, 2011. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population of adults ages 18 and older.

Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

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