TCS and ComRES-driven study of how European youth across 15 countries use Social Media for professional purposes shows a dramatic positive impact on jobs, skills and economic growth. The study reveals that a new ‘Generation Direct’ of young entrepreneurs, students and young professionals are bypassing traditional channels and going direct to markets, customers, educators, investors and their own governments through Social Media.

The report surveyed a representative sample of more than 5,000 Europeans aged 18-29 from across 15 different countries. Among these were 1,007 respondents from the Nordic region (200 Danes, 203 Finns, 202 Norwegians and 402 Swedes). The conclusion is that Social Media is playing an instrumental role across Europe in helping young people find jobs, upgrade their skills and create economic growth as entrepreneurs and that social media is seen as inseparable from business as a working tool.

Interestingly, Nordics are better at using social media for networking and socialising than the rest of Europe, but they lag behind in finding jobs via social channels. Only Germany scored lower in that regard. At the same time, however, compared to the rest of Europe, almost two out of three in the Nordics use social media to expand their network of business contacts, colleagues or fellow students in the Nordics compared to a somewhat lower proportion in Europe.

Overall the research also finds that young people expect to be able to share ideas and collaborate seamlessly across channels using whichever social platform best allows them to achieve their goals, rather than tailoring communications to certain networks. Unsurprisingly, Facebook continues to dominate the social media platforms with an overall, 93% of young Europeans using it, compared to just 36% who use LinkedIn –  a trend which is mirrored in the Nordic region too.

One notable finding is that the business platform LinkedIn is strikingly more used in Denmark than any of the other countries with 44% – compared to only 22% in Finland, 27% in Sweden and 31% in Norway. Another interesting finding is popularity of the rich media platform, Instagram, which is markedly more prevalent in Sweden and Norway (SE 71%; NO 67%) compared to their neighbors (FI 42%; DK 55%).

What the study makes clear is that Nordic businesses and educators need to wake up to the power of social. Many businesses are still not acknowledging the benefits that social can bring to their business to reach out to Generation Direct. Companies must proactively position themselves on channels with a high degree of use and reach to supplement traditional recruitment processes.

What we are witnessing is, it seems an unstoppable trend which is helping drive Europe’s digital economy forward. At a time of economic stagnation here in Finland, the entrepreneurial energy of Generation Direct has huge economic potential for private business and the state. Young Europeans have an instinctive understanding of the opportunities presented by social media – it’s time for employers to recognize this too.

Keen to know more? Download the full report here