Nearly 20 per cent of job applicants say they will turn down a job if they do not have reasonable access to social networking sites.
A survey of 870 employers and employees from recruitment company Hays found 19.7 per cent would reject a job offer if they did not have reasonable access to social media sites such as Facebook.
Hays NSW regional manager Shane Little said the survey suggested that many employees, particularly Generation Y, expected access to social media at work for personal use.
He said the percentage of staff with this expectation would increase over time.
"What we are seeing is this more projected feeling among employers and the younger workforce that it is going to become a bigger matter as time progresses, as far as attraction of staff and also the retention of staff," he said.
Mr Little said long ago personal phone calls were frowned on in the office. About half of those surveyed already used social media at work, with 13.3 per cent checking it daily and 36.4 per cent occasionally.
Employers' expectations also seemed in line with their staff over social media access.
Almost half (44.3 per cent) believed that allowing employees access to social media at work would improve retention levels, and a third already gave their staff access to it.
Only 23.7 per cent of employers allowed no access to social media sites and of those that allowed access, the amount varied.
He said many employers that allowed unlimited access had large IT systems that could monitor employees' usage and productivity.
Mr Little recommended employers clearly explain how the company expected social media to be used during work hours and how to deal with any misuse.