How BYOD And Social Networking Just Dudded You Out Of A Raise

How BYOD And Social Networking Just Dudded You Out Of A Raise

Forget that tired old claim that Gen Y workers are clashing with their bosses over access to Twitter and the right to use a Mac rather than a Windows PC. It’s also possible that bosses are cannily using bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies as a sneaky way to avoid giving you a raise.

Picture by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

We’ve noted before that BYOD is becoming more common in the workplace, often starting with laptops and then spreading to mobile phones. While many businesses still have BYOD bans because of support concerns, technology companies have increasingly embraced them, though often with the trade-off that people have to support their own devices rather than relying on the company helpdesk.

That in itself represents a trade-off that people don’t always think through. If you’re spending time maintaining technology which is essential to your job, then the time to actually perform your key tasks falls off. But there’s another potential trade-off: your employee might offer flexibility and device choice but not pay you as generously.

This issue came up at a press briefing hosted by Cisco’s chief technology officer Kevin Bloch. Cisco itself introduced a BYOD policy back in 2004, and found that its engineers in particular rapidly migrated to Macs. Indeed, Bloch calculates that Cisco is now the world’s second-largest corporate user of Apple gear (after Apple itself).

Bloch noted that the ability to choose run their preferred machines made engineers happy, and that in turn meant that disputes over pay were less common. “With engineers it’s not all about the money,” he said. “We gave then Macs and all these salary issues disappeared.”

Hopefully, no-one is going to say “I’m so happy with being able to choose my own technology, I won’t bother to find out if I’m being paid reasonably.” Salary decisions are rarely so black and white. But it is something to watch out for.

BYOD is becoming more normal: as Bloch put it, “With BYOD it’s game over. It’s happened’ the question now for businesses is what are you going to do?” But that doesn’t mean other considerations shouldn’t come into play when you’re thinking about a new job.

A similar caution applies to the perennial conflict over whether staff should have access to social networking services on workplace machines. A large number of businesses do have bans in place, though their effectiveness is questionable given how many of us can just use our smartphones to access the same services. Cisco’s own research suggests that one-third of people under 30 would be willing to take a lower-paid job if they had access to social media services.

Again, money isn’t the sole consideration. A company that recognises the potential business value of social networking might well prove a more satisfactory employer, since it’s less likely to have other questionable restrictions. Again, though, it’s something to watch out for.

Have you been offered ‘soft’ benefits such as your choice of device rather than a pay rise? Tell us in the comments.

Evolve is a weekly column at Lifehacker looking at trends and technologies IT workers need to know about to stay employed and improve their careers.


  • I still don’t get BYOD. If the device the user brings to work fails, what device does the user then use when it fails? If you like your fruit products then you could be waiting 2 weeks without a device to use. Does the boss just send you home and not pay you as you are nolonger productive?

    • The user becomes responsible for their device. Meaning the user is responsible for sorting out and organizing repairs to get back up and running. The usual fall back position is the employer loans the user their machine in the meantime.

      If the user is contractually obligated to bring and user their own device for work and they have no device to work on, then I suspect the user is up for breach of contract. Similar to how in some construction contracts you need to bring your own tools.

      • Sounds like a pretty shitty deal.
        The employer needs to provide you with the tools of the trade and necessary infrastructure to perform your job.

        What next? Bring your own desk, chair and desk phone?

          • Stove, I think what Drew is saying is why is it a perk that you bring your own device to work and suffer a pay decrease from that. It should be the other way around: if you bring your own device you should get an increase in wage as you are limiting that company’s overhead.

        • Our employer has a predetermined list of BYOD devices we can use in the corporate network AND of which the employer will support. Granted, the list is small (notable exclusion is Android devices), but all Windows and Apple products are accepted.

          The incentive for employees is purchasing through pre-tax salary sacrifice, and using a device that neatly ties in personal and work data/comms.

        • Not really Drew, it’s only similar to the millions of people that are paid mileage expenses but in return are then responsible for the running of their own car. Anyway, should the device break, it wouldn’t matter if it was BYOD or corporate supplied, the same delivery timescales apply.

        • Well consider that this may be a generational thing. I’m 28 and my friends around the same age as me consider we’d be much more happier at work if we can bring in my own tools, and customise it in ways that we personally think makes us productive. Some workplaces with BYOD policies provide salary sacrifice and some even take the money they would have spent and give it to you to buy your laptop, software and source your own support.

          My generation are also more flaky and choosey about work, preferring satisfaction over loyalty or financial stability. So I totally get it that some people would choose satisfaction over money.

  • Well, what’s better? More pay, or more satisfied in your job because you get to use the device that you want?

    Also I take from the above article that the employees stopped asking for pay rises so much, so you can still hask for pay rises.

  • Yeah, It’s not an instead of deal. It’s a perk that Cisco noticed. They allowed BYOD which made engineers happier and they stopped pushing as hard for more money to compensate for the things they disliked.

  • If you don’t bargain for your efforts at work, and are both able and prepared to trade an increase in income in exchange for using your own device, that’s up to you. I think you’re a f*cking idiot, but I respect your right to choose.

  • Considering we all now have smartphones that can log you into your social networks without the risk of prying IT is having Facebook that much of a deal on your pc?

  • I’m with Kendal and Sarah. I also do not see how I’d want to mix work anything with personal data.
    I also find it astonishing that true “engineers” would not already be into hardcore multiboot multi-flavour Linux installments.
    Every company I have seen in Australia lets people salary sacrifice laptops whether they use it for work or not.
    I get tons of satisfaction out of work (IT contractor) and I do not really care how personalised my laptop or or OS is. I want money and learning. I have my own personal ultra-portable 3-G WI-FI tethered to my smartphone of choice all the time. BYOD is for suckers. Why not give me my choice of devices from a list of devices and also give me pay rises, career options, training, and all the other stuff I want?!?
    My age? 41. Years in IT 16.5.

  • Oh yeah,
    In the late 90s I was working in Silicon Valley and perks were everywhere. BYOD was not yet an acronym in play, it was bring your pets to work. People were defining quality of a company’s offerings and culture by their attitudes towards pets in the workplace and how good the free chiefs were and how fun the game rooms were with free juice. “Can you play fuse ball whenever you want?”
    BYOD is a more advanced turn-around, diluted, MBA-Case-Studied let’s take that same demographic and bend them over and twist it around (“BYOD devices are liberating!”) and let them have it. Make them pay for it. Make them feel empowered by it. Suck their innards out like the lame programmer lady who sat by me in Palo Alto who had a cat who I wanted to kick. She sucked at her job too.
    If your device defines you, I don’t want to work with you.

  • I just see BYOD as the first step in the door to requiring ***ALL*** workers to provide their own personally-paid hardware for work. Of course, the employer will be able to dictate just WHAT you will be forced to buy, and will pocket all the savings themselves rather than pass that money on to you the now even poorer employee. Too broke to buy anything? Then it’s goodbye to you and on to the next sucker who hasn’t yet destroyed their life savings.

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