Technology at work

Internet or air? One in three young workers say Internet

November 2, 2011: 2:34 PM ET

Young people have some surprising views on what's most essential in their lives -- and corporate recruiters should take note.

FORTUNE -- A study by Cisco Systems (CSCO), which makes equipment that runs the Internet, concludes that the Internet, to many young people, is as important as life itself.

A third of the 2,800 college students and workers under 30 polled said the Internet is as valuable to them as air, water, food, and shelter. Followed to its logical conclusion, that means they would sooner die of asphyxiation than go without Twitter updates and friends' wacky photos on Facebook.

Presumably (hopefully) if you sat those respondents down and talked to them, you (and they) would learn that they wouldn't actually rather die than live without the Internet. But the results of Cisco's Connected World Technology Report nevertheless carry an important message for corporate recruiters: you'd better make technology and communications freely available to your employees, or you might be in trouble.

Cisco says the study reveals the "increasing role of the network in people's lives," which might offer a hint as to why one of the world's leading manufacturers of Internet routers and switches conducted it in the first place. Dave Evans, Cisco's chief futurist, said in a statement that the results highlight the "lifestyles of 'prosumers' -- the blending of professionals and consumers in the workplace." More

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