Arras People PPM Census Gives Snapshot into LinkedIn’s User Data Trust Issues

In this year's Programme and Project Management Census, Arras People have been asking respondents about their usage of LinkedIn in order to ascertain where it fits with today's PPM professional.
Who approaches candidates on LinkedIn?
Who approaches candidates on LinkedIn?
Jan. 16, 2012 - PRLog -- These questions seem even more current in view of the recent reports where the use of LinkedIn and social media was raised at an industrial tribunal considering a case of constructive dismissal.

So far, an amazing 92.34% of our UK-based respondents who identified themselves as programme and project management practitioners confirmed that they currently have a LinkedIn account. So what is the attraction?

According to their web site; "LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network with over 120 million members and growing rapidly. LinkedIn connects you to your trusted contacts and helps you exchange knowledge, ideas, and opportunities with a broader network of professionals."

For many professionals LinkedIn has provided a way of keeping in touch with ex-colleagues, networking with like-minded contacts whose path they have crossed along their professional journey and sharing interests through groups; all this being done in a closed "trusted" way where the linkages were controlled by the individual. In addition, for those who were interested the site also carried job opportunities where hiring organisations paid to advertise their latest roles. In fact, all the services the current sign in page mentions when you visit the web site.

However, during the course of 2011 LinkedIn made a significant change by positioning itself as a "corporate recruiting solution", selling access to the system and all the user-data contained within. The flip side advertises to corporates and staffing agencies the value of gaining access to all names and profiles across all of LinkedIn, a point not mentioned when they access the site.

Based on this, we were interested to see if respondents felt this change breaks the "trusted" elements of the service. Is it obvious and transparent to those signing up for a networking portal that their details are subsequently being sold on? Is LinkedIn as just another recruitment portal? And as such, will employers and professionals come to view it in a very different light?

17% of our respondents were unaware that this change had been made. A further 12% disagreed with the selling of access to their details and 10% expressed some discomfort with the change. On the plus side for LinkedIn, 17% of respondents were comfortable with the changes and 28% (38% of those unemployed) though it was great news if it gives them more job opportunities!

We asked our respondents if they had been approached through LinkedIn with an opportunity in the last 12 months. Contractors appear to have the highest approach rate (62%), followed by Employees (54%). Interestingly the group with the lowest approach rate was the unemployed (just 34%). Does this reinforce the adage that it is easier to find a new job if you have a job? Or is there a deeper reason for this?

We then asked those respondents who had been approached with an opportunity to identify the source of their approach. As the attached graphic shows, for both the unemployed and active practitioners, "a recruiter" was the top response, averaging at 68.5%. Approaches through respondents' networks appear to work better for active practitioners (employees & contractors) at 18%, compared to 7% for those unemployed. Finally, approaches through a group at 15% for those unemployed appears substantially better than 9% for actively engaged practitioners which may well be a function of how LinkedIn is used by practitioners.

Of course it is worth remembering that recruitment practice has changed over the last few years with many organisations managing much more of their recruitment in-house. So "A Recruiter" may well be an internal recruiter (corporate) rather than just being the dreaded recruitment consultant (Staffing Agency).

From the data gathered so far, it would appear that for many PPM practitioners the "trusted" element of the LinkedIn proposition has been broken. This leaves me to ask if the "Get the most from your professional network" tag line is still valid or should the service be repositioned? In fact I would go so far as to ask if LinkedIn is really any different from other recruitment web sites such as Monster and Job Serve and, as a consequence, will users and employers start viewing it as such?


About the 2012 Arras People Programme and Project Management Census

The 2012 Arras People PPM Census is still open and we are still looking for your support. If you have not already done so, please take some time to participate by completing the Programme and Project Management Census which allows you to share your views on the PPM Domain. All responses will be collated and presented in the 2012 Project Management Benchmark Report, which will be available in February. Go to to take the survey today.

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Project Management Recruitment Specialists, focused on programme management, project management and project support.
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Tags:Project Management Census, Linkedin, Social Media, User Data, Online Privacy, Programme Management Census, Arras People
Industry:Project management
Location:Heywood - Lancashire - England
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