Facebookers, beware: That silly update can cost you a job

Study shows that companies have rejected 1 in 10 people between ages 16 and 34 because of something the person shared on social media.

On Device Research

Little did Ashley Payne know that the festive photo of her holding both a pint of beer and a glass of red wine would lead to her losing her high school teaching job.

The 24-year-old educator posted the image to her Facebook profile, and after a parent complained, school officials told Payne she'd have to choose between resigning and suspension, according to IOL News. She resigned.

If those same school officials were hiring and found a candidate with a similar photo shared on the social Web, it's most likely that person wouldn't even get an interview.

According to a new report, turning down young job candidates because of what they post on social media has become commonplace. The report, by On Device Research, states that 1 in 10 people between ages 16 and 34 have been turned down for a new job because of photos or comments on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networking sites.

"If getting a job wasn't hard enough in this tough economic climate, young people are getting rejected from employment because of their social media profiles and they are not concerned about it," On Device Research's marketing manager Sarah Quinn said in a statement.

Ten percent of young people said they knew they were rejected from a job because of their social media profiles, yet 66 percent of young people still don't seem to care that these profiles may affect their career prospects. The majority of young people cater their social media presence to friends rather than potential employers, according to On Device Research.

Quinn says that better education on how social media can affect employment is needed to ensure young people aren't making it even harder to excel in their careers.

Several U.S. states have created laws to protect employees from being fired because of what they post on social media. In January, six states officially made it illegal for employers to ask their workers for passwords to their social media accounts.

It's unclear how many employers have demanded access to workers' online accounts, but some cases have surfaced publicly and inspired lively debate over the past year. In one instance last year, a teacher's aide in Michigan was suspended after refusing to provide access to her Facebook account following complaints over a picture she posted.

As for Payne, even though she ultimately resigned, she since has sued the school to get her job back or receive monetary damages, according to IOL News.

On Device Research surveyed 17,657 people, ages 16 to 34, in China, India, Nigeria, Brazil, the U.S., and U.K.

On Device Research

About the author

Dara Kerr is a staff writer for CNET focused on the sharing economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado where she developed an affinity for collecting fool's gold and spirit animals.

 

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