In a recent survey of over 270 executives, with 100 women respondents, we found similar trends in usage and attitudes on social media as men. However, there were also a few key differences.
Broadly, executives use social media to a modest degree. Nearly 80% of the respondents use social media less than 2 hours per week. Of heavy users, 2+ hours per week, women have a higher percentage of 23% versus 17%.
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The author of the study, Dwain Celistan, an executive recruiter and coach stated, “this study suggests that executives are not as actively involved in social media. Despite strong coverage, most executives are spending less than 2 hours/week and the preferred sites for social media appear to be on Linkedin and Facebook.”
When considering the types of social media these executives are aware of, women seemed to be more knowledgeable of the better-known sites. Most notable was the gap in awareness for Twitter, and to a lesser degree, blogs.
Both women and men executives most preferred Linkedin and Facebook to other choices. The difference for women was less significant, as both sites appear to have solid appeal and probably for different reasons.
Interestingly, executives are very aware of Twitter, but it is not a preferred site at this point. While there was a modest level of preference by women of 5%, it was almost non-existent among men.
Women and men both find that there are opportunities for improvement if they were to use these tools more often. The percentage of women in the survey indicated that they would use social media more if:
“it was more helpful to my career” 87%
“The items I learned were the consistently high value” 83%
“I had a better experience with the tools when I use them” 61%
“I understood the benefits” 58%The highest hurdle to greater use is the perceived lack of value versus other uses of time.
We expect the level of use of social media to grow over time. The tools will be used more as the quality of content provides greater value. At this time, the value is apparent for job search, but not as clear for other aspects.
Social media, particularly Linkedin, are viewed as great tools for career efforts. This site will probably see increased usage over time. They will do well to continually improve the experience and value provided.
Further, given the strong interest and use of Linkedin, this site and similar sites may impact paid job boards for sourcing talent. As more executives have positive experiences, it is likely that the nature of the search for talent on the net will evolve to this model.
The study was fielded by Dwain Celistan, a retained executive recruiter with the Gundersen Partners. Dwain is also an executive coach who works with leadership talent in marketing, sales and in the supply chain arenas. His clients include Global executives, CEOs and other current/former corporate executives. The goal is to work with them to achieve their goals.