A survey of 2,000 UK employees has revealed just how much UK businesses and their employees are missing out on the benefits of business networking.
The research, commissioned by office stationary suppliers Viking through survey company OnePoll, has highlighted that while 8 in 10 workers think that networking is important to their career development, almost half (46%) say they’ve never networked.
Of the workers who do undertake networking activities, few do so on a regular basis. Just 4% cite networking as a day-to-day activity, and only one in five (21%) network once a week or more.
In the survey, workers were asked why they did not network more often. The most common responses were:
- Lack of time: 29%
- Lack of events near them: 20%
- Nervousness: 19%
- Lack of money: 18%
- Don’t see it as important: 15%
Support from employers can help remove some of these barriers, but 54% of employees said that they received no support from their employer when it came to networking. Just one in five (22%) of workers are allowed to network during paid working hours. The full list of employer aid given to employees to enable them to network is:
- Paid time: 22%
- Unpaid time: 13%
- Expenses: 18%
- Internal events hosted by employer: 15%
- External events hosted by employer: 7%
There are vast differences from industry to industry with regards to how much employees network. In business, 81% of workers say they network, compared to just 33% of those in transport and logistics. This is despite 65% of those who are employed in the transport sector saying they believe networking is important to their career. The percentage of workers who network in each industry is*:
- Business: 81% network
- IT: 71% network
- Accounting: 66% network
- Engineering: 54% network
- Teaching: 49% network
- Public services: 48% network
- Healthcare: 47% network
- Retail: 33% network
- Transport: 33% network
Mark Eurlings, SEO Manager of Europe at Viking says about the research:
“Networking is hugely beneficial to employees and employers alike. It can unlock not only new opportunities but new contacts, leads, investors, suppliers, staff and much, much more.
“With this in mind, it would be great to see more employers supporting their workers in this area. Networking is a cost-effective way of increasing brand awareness for your company among key stakeholders and helps increase industry knowledge in your staff. Managers should be encouraging their staff to network at every opportunity.”
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