SHRM Survey: Workers Use of Online Networking Sites Significant

May 12, 2009

Alexandria, Va.Though personal relationships remain the top source for career networking, use of online professional networking sites is gaining popularity according to a survey released today by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Nearly 20 percent of employees use online professional networking sites such as LinkedIn and Plaxo, while 16 percent use online social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Friendster according to the survey, “Networking Professionally: Employee Perspective.” The survey examines face-to-face and online networking trends.

The top five sources for career networking include: friends and relatives (67 percent); colleagues (56 percent); conferences/trade shows/conventions (26 percent); supervisors/managers/higher level professionals in supervisory role (also 26 percent); and clients (25 percent).

“Relative to other networking methods, online social networking still lacks in popularity as a career tool but as job seekers look for more nontraditional approaches to making connections that lead to jobs, we might see an increase in use of online social networking in the near future,” said Steve Williams, SHRM's director of research.

Career networking via online professional networking sites ranked eighth while social networking sites ranked tenth. The poll includes 15 categories.

Additional survey highlights include:

  • Roughly 38 percent of respondents said they use online professional and social networking sites to learn about a particular company or someone who works at that company.
  • Nearly one in four (18 percent) respondents report using online professional and social networking sites as a job search method. It is not known how many job hunters secure employment through online networking.
  • Employees of publicly owned for-profit companies (41 percent) are more likely than those in privately owned for-profit companies (11 percent) to job hunt through online professional and/or social networking sites.
  • Non-management employees (22 percent) are more likely than executives (three percent) to network online through job search/career sites. Executives report they are more likely to network through: conferences/trade shows/conventions; clients; and professional societies/trade associations.
  • Middle-management employees (38 percent) are more likely than non-management employees (20 percent) to network through the cluster of supervisors/managers/higher level professionals in supervisory role.
  • Executives (43 percent) and middle-management employees (36 percent) are more likely non-management workers (15 percent) to network during business meetings.

The poll surveyed 605 full-time or part-time employed U.S. residents. Reporters may read the complete SHRM poll, and others, at:


About the Society for Human Resource Management
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at


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