Blurring the Lines of Personal/Work Life

Members of Generation Y are using social networking websites like Facebook for personal over professional reasons, yet most are using their profiles as an extension of professional life, according to a new study by branding firm Millennial Branding.

The study of nearly 4 million Facebook profiles from's database found that Generation Y workers (those age 18 to 29) are using Facebook mostly to socialize with family and friends. Yet many still use the website to connect with work, with most Millenials each having an average of 16 co-workers as friends on Facebook.

"Gen-Y needs to be aware that what they publish online can come back to haunt them in the workplace," said Dan Schawbel, founder of Millenial Branding. "Gen-Y managers and co-workers have insight into their social lives, which could create an awkward workplace setting or even result in a termination."

In addition, 80 percent of Gen Y lists at least one school entry on their Facebook profiles, while only 36 percent list a job entry, meaning many define themselves by their college instead of their workplace, the study found.

Gen Y workers also have been dubbed the entrepreneurial generation, and that is also evidenced by the study: "owner" was the fifth most popular job title for Gen Y. In addition, only 7 percent of Gen Y works at a Fortune 500 company, mostly because startups are dominating the workforce for their demographic, particularly in today's economy, the study found.

Meanwhile, the government/military was among the top industries employing Gen Y workers, with 4.5 percent of those surveyed citing it as their career field. Other top industries for Gen Y workers were travel and hospitality (7.2 percent), consumer products (6.7 percent) and technology (4.4 percent).

The U.S. military was the largest employer of Generation Y overall, while Deloitte was the largest corporate employer, the study found.

Perhaps most interestingly, Gen Y will form 75 percent of the workforce by 2025, and the study suggests that Gen Yers already are working to shape corporate culture and expectations.

What are your thoughts? Is the line between personal and professional life beginning to blur? Is Gen Y already working to shape your agency's culture?