Workers Willing to Share Personal Data With Employers in Return for Secure Employment

Nearly a third of people would be more than willing to give their employer access to their personal data, such as social media profiles, accoring to PwC’s Future of Work series. 

This data could be used by employers to understand what motivates their workforce, reasons why people might move jobs and to improve employee well-being.

PwC predicts that this kind of data monitoring of employees is set to rise over the next decade as Generation Y enters the workforce – by 2020 this generation will form half of the global workforce and bring with them their different attitudes to technology and personal data.

The research reveals that the younger generation are more open to sharing their personal data with their employees, with 36% of Generation Y workers saying they would be happy to do so.

PwC’s report reveals a number of projections for what the future of work might look like, based on a survey of 10,000 workers and 500 HR professionals globally.

Technology is seen by both workers and HR professionals as the biggest factor that will transform the workplace over the next five to 10 years, ahead of shifts in demographics, the economy and availability of resources.

More than half (58%) of HR professionals said they are already preparing for this shift, while a further quarter said they were already prepared.

“Organisations could soon start using workers’ personal data (with their permission) to measure and anticipate performance and retention issues," said Michael Rendell, Global HR Consulting leader at PwC.

"This sort of data profiling could also extend to real-time monitoring of employees’ health, with proactive health guidance to help reduce sick leave.

Measurable benefits

Rendell notes that key to the success of organizations being able to use employee data will be developing measurable benefits for those who hand over their data and building trust through clear rules about how data is acquired, used and shared.

“Our research reveals that employees are more open to sharing their personal data than previously thought. The millennial generation of workers are particularly happy to share their data meaning this kind of data monitoring by organisations could become routine in the years to come.

“HR teams are already gearing up for these changes and are increasingly using data analytics to spot retention and performance issues. The main challenge for HR professionals will be convincing employees that the price of handing over their data and monitoring is one worth paying."

While the research reveals that the majority of workers (64%) view technology advances as improving their job prospects, 12% are worried about the impact it will have on their jobs. For example, a quarter of workers are concerned that automation is putting their job at risk.

Digital transformation is also disrupting the traditional nine to five office environment as people are now contactable 24/7.

While for some people, this shift brings them the flexibility they desire, for others, they feel their work-life balance is being invaded.

PwC’s research reveals that over half (59%) of people are prepared to be available at any time and contactable via technology in return for secure employment. This rises to nearly two thirds (64%) of Generation Y workers.

“Technology will continue to transform how we will work over the next decade. While many workers will embrace these changes, organisations need to be mindful of the potential disruption to people’s lives," said Rendell.