Topics: Miller College of Business, Emerging Media
February 4, 2009
Human resources managers are willing to pay top dollar to attract new employees with emerging media skills, but they are less willing to provide training to bring current employees up to speed on new technologies, says a new study from Ball State University.
A survey of human resources executives at 229 firms across Indiana found that about 67 percent of respondents were willing to pay a higher salary of 1 to 4 percent to attract new employees with emerging media skills. Twenty-three percent were willing to pay 5 to 8 percent more for such new hires.
"Respondents indicate a willingness to pay higher wages to acquire and keep workers who have these skills," said
Jennifer Bott, a marketing and management associate professor who co-authored "Emerging Media: Prevalence and Impact in the Workplace," a survey to determine emerging media's impact and cost in the workplace.
Co-authors included Ray Montagno, Associate Provost for Learning Initiatives and Associate Professor of Management, and Judy Lane, retired associate director/editor of the Center for Business and Economic Research.
While companies were willing to pay a premium for emerging media skills, 77 percent of respondents provide little or no training to current employees.
"These technologies may be seen as quickly coming and going, which makes it difficult to have time to develop programs for effective and thorough training," Bott said. "The lack of training reflects the newness factor, and training is seen as a long-term commitment."
The study also found that 93 percent of respondents believe it is somewhat important to very important for employees to have emerging media skills.
"We are an information-centered society with emerging media technologies becoming highly integrated into the workplace," Bott said. "At this point, businesses place a high value on employees who are comfortable in working with communication technologies that are rapidly changing."
Emerging media is the evolving use of technology and digital content to enhance work, play, and learning; to broaden access to information; and to enrich personal connection by eliminating the constraints of time and location.
In the study, emerging media technologies were defined as e-mail, mobile computing, podcasts, digital audio/media players, mobile communication devices, instant messaging, interactive Web pages and blogs.
"The data indicates that the respondents have a generally positive view of the impact of these technologies on their organizations because it made them more competitive," Bott said. "This positive impact may reflect a general belief that technological change is inevitable and has led to increased organizational productivity."
In examining the prevalence of emerging media and other communications technologies at participating corporations, the researchers found e-mail usage policies have been adopted by 88.6 percent of respondents, followed by Internet surfing policies at 78.9 percent, privacy issues at 67.4 percent and security concerns at 60.6 percent.
"Given the level of emerging media, it would be expected that organizations need policies and procedures to manage employee behavior relative to these technologies," Bott said. "But, some results are surprising. For example, even though more than 88 percent of firms have an e-mail policy, you would think it would be higher, considering the number of anecdotes about e-mail abuse."
Preparing for the evolving workplace
Bott believes the research underscores the importance of Ball State's recently announced Emerging Media Initiative (EMI), a $17.7 million investment focusing the university's historic strengths in this area, accelerating benefits to the state of Indiana with media-savvy human capital.
Ball State students will have access to more innovative and entrepreneurial opportunities in emerging media across the curriculum. The university's growing emphasis on new ideas, technology transfer, and commercialization will provide the support faculty need to bring ideas to market.
"Our students are learning emerging media skills, which will make them highly marketable to employers," she said. "We are preparing students for an evolving workplace in which communications technologies play a critical role."