William Fry Employment Snapshot 2016
Employment Snapshot
  • Men spend longer than women on social media during the working day

  • 78% of employees use personal devices to access social media sites while at work, spending an average of 29 minutes per working day on social media sites

  • 96% of employees in Ireland have not been made aware of who owns their work-related contacts

A social media and employment research report produced by William Fry has looked at the evolving trends around social media usage within the workplace. The annual report, the fourth in the series, reveals that more than 3 out of 4 employees (78%) are accessing social media using personal devices while at work (up from 60% in 2013). The report also states that men will spend more time on social media (39 minutes) than women (25 minutes) during the working day.


The 2016 report found:

  • 14, the number of minutes more than women that men spend on social media sites during work hours
  • 29, the average number of minutes spent by employees on social media sites during work hours
  • 78%, the percentage of employees accessing social media using personal devices during work hours
  • 36%, the percentage of employers who do not have a social media policy or guidelines in place
  • 25%, the percentage of employees who are not sure if their employer has a social media policy or guidelines in place

Catherine O’Flynn, a Partner in William Fry’s Employment & Benefits Department, advised employers who have not already done so, to put a social media policy in place saying, “our research finding that more and more employees are using personal devices to access social media at work is of note. Businesses risk serious reputational and/or financial consequences from employees’ inappropriate activity on social media channels. Accordingly, it is vital that organisations address use on personal devices as well as company devices when preparing their social media polices.”

The continued popularity of LinkedIn and other professional networking platforms has seen a rising number of employees using social media to search or apply for new jobs and this is borne out in the report which found that 24% of employees use social media to apply for jobs. In addition, it is having an impact on how employees conduct themselves on these various channels with 46% of employees, up from 28% in 2013, stating they would now think carefully about what they post in the event of a prospective employer seeing it.

The 2016 report also highlighted the ongoing contentious issue of ‘ownership’ in social media. The most significant challenge presented by this area is what happens to work-related contacts, valuable assets of the employer, when an employee leaves the company.  In Ireland, 44% of employees have work-related contacts on their personal social media accounts. However, an incredible 96% of employees have never discussed with their employer what will happen to these contacts once they leave employment.

Catherine O’Flynn cautioned employers saying “this is another area that organisations need to address to prevent the loss of valuable contacts and information. This is especially important as the market continues to pick up and employees move from one job to another with more frequency and speed.”

Finally, employers need to be aware that case law has emerged in Ireland over the last 12 months which highlights the continuing need for employers to have a policy in place in order to have a defence to claims of vicarious liability brought by employees against the organisation in relation to the conduct of their colleagues.

Click here to download the full report.

Employment Report 2016










Key Contacts

Alicia Compton Partner

Related Practice Areas