Social Media and Job Satisfaction: The Best Thing to Happen in the Workplace

Social Media and Job Satisfaction: The Best Thing to Happen in the Workplace
As the workforce critical skills adapt with technology, continuing education departments must ensure they provide programs that help professionals acquire these competencies.

The 24/7, “never sleeps” nature of social media is the best thing to ever happen to the field of public relations (PR). At least, that’s according to the majority of PR practitioners surveyed as part of a recent research project by the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Continuing Studies unit’s PR certificate program.

The PR industry has embraced social media like no other profession. It quickly adopted online social media skills, from tweets, websites and social networking to online photography, video and blogging.

Through the field of PR it’s possible to see the impact of social media on other professions as well as professionals who face the steady growth of social media in the workplace.

Recent research has given us rare insight into how professionals are coping with the flood of social media in the workplace. The increasingly online world means many jobs in the 21st century have become all-hours, all-day, all-week endeavours. In response, the Vancouver campus of SFU has developed a number of programs specifically geared toward meeting this emerging workforce need through accelerated, full-time continuing studies programs.

The program, which teaches social media skills, responds to the speed at which these skills have come to dominate the industry. This year, SFU’s PR program conducted research surveying more than 180 Vancouver-based PR professionals, from recent grads to industry pros. The study offers insight into how PR pros and rookies are coping with social media — including managing workloads, work/life balance and job satisfaction in this little-researched corner of the 21st-century workplace.

What was the big surprise?  When asked if their social media tasks affected their job satisfaction, 84 percent of respondents said the hashtag tracking, status updates, Google analytics and blog monitoring they perform either had no effect on, or actually increased, their job satisfaction.

Said one respondent: “Work has not increased but, in fact, [has] become more flexible.”

The “always on” aspect of social media means PR folk have more control of their schedule. They enjoy the flexibility of instantly flipping between work and play, between client and personal social networking at a push of a button or the swipe of a screen.

The program is part of a series of ongoing research projects aimed at better understanding the modern job market. We continue to develop these kinds of projects in order to offer top tier, up-to-the-minute skills which set our students apart in a changing job market and engages the businesses and professionals who will eventually hire our graduates.

To learn more about the study on how PR professionals are coping with social media, please click here

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Readers Comments

Erica M 2013/09/24 at 6:28 am

Innovative idea for SFU to research market conditions and develop continuing education programs based on the results. This ensures students are up to date on trends when they get ready to enter the workforce. This survey research is particularly important for rapidly changing fields such as PR.

Peter Walton 2013/09/24 at 2:06 pm

It’s a basic marketing idea. Figure out your market before you offer a product. Seems universities like to build the product first – often based on faculty specializations – and then see if there is a market.

It has worked in the past but I think the PSE “boom times” of the last century are drawing to a close.

Rebecca Cruser 2013/09/25 at 2:08 am

In the digital age, there are a core set of skills all new graduates need to possess in order to find success in the market. Social media is certainly one of them. More research into workplace trends and conditions will help institutions develop curricula — in all course offerings — that reflect the realities of working. This type of research can also inform students and graduates of what to expect in their fields. Hopefully the results of SFU’s study were shared with current PR students.

Peter Walton 2013/10/01 at 11:59 am

Indeed. Many of the study participants were recent or past grads. The results of the study (info graphic and video) are on the PR program website.


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