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Why do Generation Y not click with LinkedIn?

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11th Nov 2014
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Social media recruitment is the topic on the lips of every recruiter. Always up to date with the latest technologies on the market, Generation Y have accounts on a multitude of social networking platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Vine, to name but a few. However, considering the ease with which this group adapt to new technology, it is significant that they have not connected with LinkedIn in any great number.

One of the main attractions of LinkedIn is its appeal as a great networking tool; yet, at a recent Tru event in London, the general consensus was that young people simply aren’t adopting the professional networking platform.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking site, offering users the chance to create a career history and personal profile online which can be accessed by other users. Users can then search for other professionals in their field and ‘connect’ with them. This vastly increases opportunities to network with people from around the world, in a quick and professional manner.

LinkedIn encapsulates the modern business market offering an instantaneous service that allows the user to quickly form professional relationships from their office chair and at the click of a button. At the top of the news feed, there is a section highlighting the most popular articles of the day.

‘Influencers’ like Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Arianna Huffington use this feature to air their views on current affairs as well as update their followers on the performance of their respective business ventures, again creating a further sense of connection.

A further feature of the platform is that it allows the user to publish and share interesting content, allowing people within that network to engage on a topic from all over the world. This also shows prospective employers an indication of how much a candidate connects with his or her field of expertise and how they frame their thoughts and opinions.

It is a great example of how modern technology can help create an all-round view of a candidate for an employer, and how a candidate can show-off their knowledge.

LinkedIn is also an incredible pool of data. Say a company needed to collate a list of every marketing manager at each of the Fortune 500 companies; this could easily be achieved using LinkedIn’s search bar. LinkedIn has become something akin to an applicant Tracking System, storing the qualifications, career histories and mini biographies of thousands of potential employees.

But is it this wealth of functionality that makes LinkedIn unappealing to Generation Y?

There is a danger that having the importance of an updated and interesting LinkedIn profile stressed to university students and job seekers, the platform will be seen as just another hoop to jump through in the search for work. Another stage is added to an already convoluted job seeking process.

To the generation that conduct their lives on Facebook, using LinkedIn could feel like a duplication of effort. In fact, Facebook offers many of the same features (admittedly not to the same extent) as LinkedIn does to its professional users; but Facebook users can also share their social lives as well as their professional endeavours. The transition from one platform to another or the adoption of an additional networking site can be unattractive to individuals who are already using a platform that seemingly offers them the same benefits, and more.

Research has also hinted that the value placed in professional networking is no longer as high as it used to be; members of Generation Y often argue that they should be valued on what they know, not who they know. Young professionals want recognition for their personal merits and achievements. With this in mind it is easy to see why, whether you agree or not with their viewpoint, the networking advantage of LinkedIn may not appeal to this generation.

Perhaps the biggest reason Generation Y are not engaging with LinkedIn is because they do not feel they are seeing the return on their investment of time. Cultivating a fantastic LinkedIn profile and adding relevant contacts takes patience, and users want to know that this effort will be worthwhile - and for many millennials it has not been. The average age of a LinkedIn user is 44. By this age wouldn’t one expect a candidate to be passive and not actively seeking new employment?

Many if not most members of Generation Y are explicitly active candidates. While LinkedIn is a brilliant tool for a recruiter wishing to reach out and contact a passive candidate with an offer of new employment, the same cannot be said for a large number of current and recent graduates.

 LinkedIn is an incredible site and it does offer new and innovative advantages to its users – if it didn’t, it would not have millions of users today. However, with the average age of its user being double that of Generation Y’s, its creators need to start thinking outside the box and creating incentives for a new generation of users with new needs.

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