2.

2.1 Understanding of  Significance of the research about (Professional Networking: A Study on the Effectiveness of Networking in Finding Jobs)

2.2. Results & Discussion about (Professional Networking: A Study on the Effectiveness of Networking in Finding Jobs)

3.1 Most interesting finding about (Professional Networking: A Study on the Effectiveness of Networking in Finding Jobs)

4.1 Suggestions to improve the research based on each chapter below.

  • Chapter 1.0 Introduction

Employment is one of the few things that most people look forward to in their life. Just like in any facet of the world, potential new entrants of the labour market are curious to understand and develop an effective and efficient way to obtain paid work.

The need to find rewarding employment is expressed by numerous individuals across all walks of life. Primarily, students and recent graduates look to create a path that will lead them to their dream jobs or career despite not having work experience in the field they hope to be employed in. This raises the question, “How can we be competitive in employment search when resumes are gap-ridden?” Over the years, there has been a common recommendation that most recruiters and career planners often point to – networking. Networking is often viewed as the Holy Grail that provides opportunities to employment, especially in North America.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

There are many questions surrounding networking: What are the options? Is it different from basic meetings and communication? The effectiveness of networking continues to be questioned. While conducting this research, we will seek to uncover and determine the relationship between networking and obtaining employment. In doing so, we will also evaluate the evolution of networking, preferred methods of networking to obtain employment, and ascertain the role and effectiveness of networking in assisting in obtaining employment.

1.2 Research Question 

Does networking play a role in assisting with obtaining employment?

1.3 Objectives

This research has multiple objectives pertaining to answering real-life questions that are asked constantly about networking and employment. After the completion of this research project, we intend to explore the truths and myths regarding the relationships between networking and obtaining employment. Major aspects of networking and employment will be reviewed extensively to decipher the general beliefs of individuals through in depth quantitative and qualitative analysis. A conclusion will be drawn from the data and information generated through the course of the research. The following are the objectives of the research based on the research question:

1.3.1 To explore the evolution of traditional and contemporary types of networking

The early mentions of networking will be explored and the evolution of networking from what it used to be in the earlier industrial era to the contemporary consensus of what it is in the 21st century. The application of networking in the 1900s will be considered, specific examples will be examined, and comparisons and contrasts will be drawn as applicable.

1.3.2 To determine the role of networking in finding employment among Seneca Students, and graduates/Alumni

We will be exploring the idea whether or not employment has a role in assisting students in finding employment. Special attention will be paid to the individuals within the Seneca College community which includes staff, current students, and alumni. We will be considering these individuals as we believe they have been and/or will be affected by the research question.

1.3.3 To determine how job seekers use social networks professionally?

Employers use social networking sites for a number of reasons related to attracting high quality candidates for current and future openings. This highlights why it is important to keep our profile on social networking proficient. We will include tips and recommendations about how students need to advertise/market themselves in a professional networking setting.

1.3.4 To state our recommendations on the effectiveness of networking in obtaining employment after compiling our findings

After the extensive research process and compilation of primary data, we intend to provide a recommendation about the effectiveness of networking in obtaining employment. Importantly, secondary research, both qualitative and quantitative, will be reviewed and analyzed to compare and contrast our research findings with other scholarly publications and research.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This research study is significant as it affects everyone who intends to obtain employment at some time in their life. It provides an avenue for genuinely curious individuals to access information regarding the effectiveness of networking to obtain employment. If networking is indeed effective, it will point to what kind of networking is effective and what are the available networking options available in modern society. This study, if it confirms that networking is effective, will also help anyone in the job market strategically plan how they will go about looking for employment. People looking for employment can  use the study to see which networking is most effective and which is best suited for their situation. Also if it shows that networking is not effective, then this study will provide new data into this topic that will possibly show how job searching is changing.

1.5 Limitation of the study

The scope of the research we are conducting is quite broad. We will be covering networking and the evolution of networking available at this point in time. We will also look to explore the networking options available in this age. We will also consider employment and find links (if any) between networking and obtaining employment and use both qualitative and qualitative research methods to come to a conclusion. We will be considering the opinion of employed individuals and students generally. However, we will pay special attention to people within the Seneca community.

1.6 Definition of terms

There are a few terms that we will use repeatedly and are defined below for the purpose of this research.

  • First-degree connection – Building and maintaining contact with an individual such as your friend or family through networking
  • Full-time employment – Employment in which a person works anything above 30 hours per week.
  • Networking – The exchange of contact information between people who share similar ideas and interests in a formal or informal setting.
  • Part-time employment – Employment in which a person works a minimum number of hours set by their employer. For this research, it will be working 1-24 hours per week.
  • Second-degree connection – Building and maintaining contact with an individual through a first-degree connection (i.e. friend of a friend)
  • Third-degree connection – Building and maintaining contact with an individual(s) through a second-degree connection (i.e. friend of a friend of a friend)
  • Chapter 2.0 Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

The current population is drastically increasing, while job opportunities remain constant. This means that most people end up being jobless if they are not competent enough or if they do not have connections. The average time it takes an unemployed person to find a job is 9 months (Abraham). This leads to job seekers feeling frustrated with the lack of results. On the other hand, employers might prefer employing those people who the employer knows about their character, personality, qualifications, and work experience. Networking plays a critical role in assisting people in obtaining employment. This paper examines how networking plays a vital role in helping people obtain employment.

Most professionals engage in networking to build their careers in order to gain better access to new job opportunities. According to Arbex, O’Dea, and Wiczer, networking affects the speed and quality of jobs available for professionals. Professionals who are well-networked might obtain job opportunities faster than those who do not have any connections. This implies that networked professionals are always informed whenever new job opportunities arise (693). Porter, et al. assert that the professionals who are networked might get job opportunities faster increasing their chances of getting employed (1-3). This might happen when they are referred or recommended by those who they are networked to potential employers or organizations where they might land a job. Networks shorten the time taken to find a good job compared to those who are not networked. It is also important to note that the volume of networking applied to job hunting is also predicated on the job seeker’s effort, personality, and perception (Bonoli 88-89). A hard working and outgoing person is more likely to realize that reaching out to their professional network will benefit in finding a job, as opposed to an individual whose pessimistic towards job hunting and networking.

Networking also allows people to know when a professional who is unemployed is available for employment or is already employed. When one is not networked, people and employers might not know when one is already employed or when they are available (Melanthiou et al. 31). This makes them lose a lot of job opportunities that might be available for them as employers and colleagues might think that the professional is employed. However, staying close with other people and employers through networking creates strong networks where the connections make it known to colleagues and potential employers when the professionals are available. According to Jordan and Weller (1), networking makes it easier for the people to be updated regularly, making the availability of the professionals known to potential employers when job opportunities arise, which increases the chances of getting employed. Networking thus plays a role in improving the chances of professionals getting employed through making their availability known to colleagues and potential employers.

Professional networking through social media sites could also aid in seeking job opportunities. According to Mowbray and colleagues, social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have played a vital role in helping people get employed. Also, social networks either substitute for or complement formal institutions, like employment agencies or insurance companies (Bloch 183). Communication through social media helps people connect and network with others, allowing potential employers to know the professional positions of the professionals, their jobs and career experiences, and also to maintain relationships. Such relationships might prosper such that whenever there is an open job opportunity, an employer might contact a potential applicant through social media and link them to get the job. Job seekers could also create profiles on social media sites and use the profiles to connect with potential employers directly. Such networks could land one a job faster compared to when conventional methods of seeking employment are followed. Social media networking can thus play a role in helping people get employment.

Finally, networking can be used by large organizations to connect with colleagues from different cities, countries, or states (Erickson 127). This creates a network that can be used to seek talented professionals to fill vacant positions whenever they are open at the organizations. Networking makes it easy for organizations to reach potential employees globally more easily. Noe and colleagues affirm that technology has eased the recruitment process allowing employers to connect with professionals globally and contacting them online through video conferencing and examining if they qualify and recruiting them in the process. The networks people create through connections with other people or organizations make it easy for the people to be recognized and be employed. Networking can thus play a critical role in helping people get employment.

2.2 History and Evolution of Networking

Networking methods have evolved over time and requires research to investigate how it all started. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were applied to investigate the role of networking in the past. Empirical research conducted back in the 1930s indicates that social networks play an important role in job search (Krauth 1). Krauth also mentioned that Bewley lists 24 studies between 1932 and 1990 that estimate the fraction of jobs obtained through friends or relatives, with most estimates between 30 and 60 percent. By any statistical measure, the estimates of 30% and 60% is quite significant to attribute to the relationship between networking and employment.

Twenty years later, the use of networking has grown to be a human resource tool due to the increased use of social media. Social media platforms have transformed the way people socialize. Not only are they able to share and like photos, they allow individuals to connect globally and instantaneously (Thomas et al. 307-308). 45% of companies in 2009 used social networking as a method to screen job applicants (Vicknair et al.). Another example of social networking is illustrated in Doyle’s article, “How to Use Networking to Find a Job”. She talks about how her father was able to secure an engineering position just by having a conversation on an airplane. Job seekers and employers have appreciated this method of networking as it is easily accessible, cost efficient and time efficient. Some social media networks are primarily used for networking. For example, LinkedIn allows you to upload your resume, add people to your connections, and read informational posts pertaining to job positions or the workplace industry of their preferences (Davis et. al 9). From a LinkedIn survey conducted in 2017, 80% of approximately 16,000 Linkedin users consider professional networking to be important to career success. 35% of those people say that a casual conversation on LinkedIn has led to a new opportunity (Doyle). On the other hand, Twitter and Facebook are used for social connections, but also allow you to post and share insightful information for the community or other professionals to see (Dargie). These posts generally pertain to the user’s leisure activities, therefore having a small effect on job seekers and employers.

2.3 Significance of Networking in Job Hunting   

Search firms and employment agencies acquire labour force through newspaper/journal, and online advertising, but networking is an integral and necessary tool to be used in order to obtain employment. This is known as “The Incredible Power of Networking” (Beatty). Individuals have built a mutually beneficial relationship with other parties that contribute to each other’s interests. During networking activities, people share their knowledge, ideas and skill set which puts one ahead of the pack in a race for employment as information shared could be relevant about a particular company, industry or job opportunity. Effective networking creates an advantage in using our daily interactions as a stepping stone to succeed in finding hidden employment opportunities (Reynolds 2). There are many tools and strategies available to jobseekers to obtain employment. Similar to the views noted in the book referenced above, Daniel J. Ryan’s book, “Job search handbook for people with disabilities”, references the effectiveness of networking in obtaining employment and career development.

However, questions are raised on the effectiveness and the importance of networking in job hunting. Several researchers have done in depth analyses and discussed personal experiences with regards to the efficacy of networking in job hunting. This is especially outlined by Zvi Band, in his publication in the Talent Journal, Master Your Networking Game, where he states that companies fill as many as 85 percent of all jobs via networking. A 2016 LinkedIn survey reports that 70 percent of people were hired at a company where they had a connection. Professionals who are trying to grow their careers or move up the ladder can find this statistic disheartening (1). These relationships are an important component to one’s career development (Blancero). Without networking, Band would not have obtained a position as a Chief Technology Officer and would not have enjoyed the many benefits the positions have brought to him with regards to career growth and learning (3). Last, networking is important because certain jobs are not available and advertised, preference is given to personal connections, and advertised jobs attract too much attention and volume (Headhunters). This leads companies to use networking as a cost efficient and time saving tool.

2.4 Degree Connections in Networking 

It is important to note that all networking types are effective to varying degrees. Labour markets outcomes have shown that employee referrals are used as a hiring channel by labour economists (Montgomery). Information supplied via contacts to workers or employers can increase the number of job openings a worker hears about as well as provide information that could be difficult to obtain. This also increases the number of job offers a worker receives as well as improving the fit between the worker and job (Mouw 869). There are other various networking platforms such as your personal network – people who are already part of the tapestry of your life: family, friends, clubs, alumni groups, professional contacts; and social networking like LinkedIn, are the norm in today’s professional world (Reynolds). However, based on the expected outcome of networking or type of employment being sought, certain networking strategies could be more effective than others. In the early stages of networking, individuals refer to people they worked with or they personally know to positions that may or may not be available to the general public. This shows family and friends play a vital role in connecting their loved ones with employers for desirable and rewarding positions. This is referred to as a first degree connection published in a document by Ryerson University’s Career Development & Employment Centre.

Friends and family play a role in obtaining employment as there are varying efficiency in various formal job search channels (Pellizzari). Individuals seeking a job change often begin by contacting their colleagues, acquaintances, family and friends to let them know they are interested in finding a job and to inquire about job leads or opportunities (Forret 276). Logically speaking, it is obvious that a personal recommendation from a friend or family member could be more valuable than that of a stranger. In a study of unemployed youth in the United States, it was found that contacting friends and former colleagues is the most useful method in searching for jobs (Bonoli 86). Also, using first degree connections for job search could lead to a wage premium or discount (Pellizzari). This is an obvious reality as personal connections can be effective to obtain higher wages as well as lower wages if the job offering is predicated on mutual economic benefit for both the employer and job seeker. On the other hand, referred workers earn on average less than their non-referred counterparts. This holds true in formal-sector positions and is not applicable for informal-sector positions (Diaz 1).

It is important to highlight that Diaz has studied the effect of information connections and networks in employment search with her studies primarily in Columbia. 70 percent of salaried workers declare that they obtained their actual job through friends, relatives, or colleagues. Similarly, 40 percent of unemployed workers report using job informational networks as the main method to seek for a job (Diaz 1). This is a staggering statistic as it shows how much people rely on informal networks to obtain employment opportunities even outside North America.

Additionally, second- and third-degree connections arise when referrals occur among professionals that have mutual ties to family and friends. A second-degree connection is used to better diversify, add value and grow your network. Doing so, you are able to leverage a larger network to your benefit (McKenna). They are just as effective as the other degrees in achieving your goals as it opens the opportunity of meeting new people and creating relationships.

2.5 Relationship between Networking and Compensation

A common empirical finding is that job offers through the public employment office are characterized by low wages and high rejection rates by the unemployed (Weber 154). But the unemployed have to realize that networking helps one get quality and higher-paying jobs compared to those professionals who are not networked. Through referrals, employers are more likely to pay better since they can be trusted more easily compared to those who little is known about them (Arbex et al. 693). It is easier for employers to pay their employees better when they are guaranteed better results compared to when they are in doubt about the productivity of the new employee. This is the reason why most companies start from a lower salary then increase salaries based on employee performance. Additionally, it is easier for companies to give the most quality jobs to those employees that are recommended or those internally nurtured within the company (Jordan & Weller). This implies that networking could introduce better candidates for a job, which shows that networking plays a critical role in getting quality jobs to professionals. A stronger and wider network of connections allows professionals more job offers. More job opportunities imply that the likelihood of professionals getting a job match is higher. Networking, therefore, plays a crucial role in assisting with obtaining employment.

Similar to the views outlined by Zvi Band mentioned above, Arbex, O’Dea and Wiczer discusses their empirical findings showing that active networking is a very potent tool for finding employment and career growth. Network‐found jobs have higher wages, and thus better‐connected workers climb the job ladder faster (693). Following the findings discussed above that were published in the International Economic Review journal, it is apparent that networking plays a vital role in job hunting as it not only assists in getting a job, it helps people get their preferred jobs and better pay.

2.6 Conclusion

Professional networking has been an important aspect and focus of individuals that are in the job market. The goal of this literature review was to analyze the results of previous studies on the topic, understand the history and evolution of professional networking,  analyze what previous studies have shown on the significance of networking in job hunting, the various levels of the professional network connections and also the relationship between networking and compensation.

The literature reviewed showed us that social media has transformed the way professional networking is done and more jobs are being showcased on social media platforms. (Thomas et al 2015, Vicknair et al.2010, Davis et. Al 2020). It was also found that there are various degrees to a professional connection and these different degrees can be leveraged into finding and getting job opportunities. (Pellizzari 2010, Forret 2014, Mouw 2003). However, a more in depth and current study on the significance of networking and finding a job will give a deeper insight and current understanding of the topic.

  • Chapter 3.0 Methodology 

The proposed methodology for this research is to collect both qualitative and quantitative data for analysis. For the quantitative aspect, we will be discussing the research question and representations of scholarly publications while providing figures and statistical evidence to support these representations. Whereas for the qualitative aspect, we will be assigning a quantitative weight to the qualitative data in order for us to analyze the data effectively.

Both qualitative and quantitative data were selected because these two types of data go hand in hand when it comes to analysing and are not usually opposites. Using these two types of data, we will be able to better understand the role of networking in getting jobs by enabling us to have a well-rounded analysis at the end of the project. By assigning a quantitative weight to the qualitative data for analysis, it may increase the margin of error as it is an estimate. However, to reduce this margin of error, we will be assigning the weights by making educated estimates and by making sure it is not biased in any way.

The data will be collected using both primary research and secondary research techniques and is discussed in more detail below.

3.1 Primary Research

We will conduct our primary research by using questionnaires to survey a random sample of working individuals in Toronto and the GTA. Our questions will consist of open ended, closed ended, quantitative and qualitative questions. The reason we have decided to use primary research is because it will give us access to new and firsthand information about the role networking plays in getting a job. In addition to that, it gives us more control of how we are collecting the data, as well as control over the relevance of data that we collect in regards to our research project. It also increases the reliability of the data that we collect as since we are collecting that data ourselves from a trusted source. Collecting primary data also increases our understanding of the topic as we gain a deeper insight of the topic versus using solely using secondary research. Primary data also reduces biases of the data used in the research as the secondary research may be biased to the researcher’s agenda. We understand that primary research has its disadvantages such as being time consuming as well as being more expensive. Since primary data is vital for a fair analysis of our research, we are willing to take the necessary time to collect the data.

3.1.1 Sampling and Population

Our population will consist of Seneca students and employees particularly from the Newnham campus. We will be approaching about 160 individuals to complete our questionnaire. The 160 individuals we will be approaching will be our sample. We intend to have our sample collected without any biases and sampling errors. Our sample should contain students of Seneca College who are employed in contract, full-time or part-time positions; our sample will also contain Seneca staff. We will try to eliminate any biases or unequal distribution by making sure that we have an equal distribution between part-time workers and full-time workers. In the event that the 160 individuals surveyed does not provide a fair distribution and representation of the population characteristics in terms of proportion of participants in each category we may increase the sample size or collect new.

While collecting samples for our primary research, we will be employing simple random sampling. Simple random sampling is a probability sampling method where there is equal probability of every individual in the population to participate or to be selected. Our intent and reasoning for this is to ensure every individual chosen is entirely by chance and ensure we provide everyone/individual in the population an equal chance of being selected.

In addition to having equal probability of representation and being selected, we also believe that using simple random sampling provides our research with a higher degree of accuracy as opposed to other sampling methods. Having everyone with an equal chance of participating provides our study with a distribution that is not skewed and fairly representative of the population.

3.1.2 Instrumentation

Our questionnaire will consist of questions aimed at drawing a correlation between networking and finding a job. The questions will range from, the type of networking, length of networking, and if networking had any influence at all. After collecting all primary data, we will assess the level of influence that networking has on finding a job.

The questionnaire will include a range of different types of questions to ensure that we are collecting relevant information from our participants. Questions will have yes/no options, a Likert scale and one open ended question. The range of mechanisms we plan to employ as mentioned above is in the interest of the research and in accordance with the study objectives.

We intend to have nominal measurement as we will be assigning a value to options in the questionnaire for identification or classification purposes. Additionally, we will be using the Ordinal (Categorical) measurement to rank/scale allowing us to arrange responses. This is made evident by the implementation of the Likert scale and ranking in our questionnaire.

While trying to come up with our instrumentation, we took into consideration the three criteria for good measurement: reliability, validity and sensitivity.

During our study, we intend to have pretesting in order to have a clear understanding if our potential study respondents reaction to the study and instrument we intend to use to gather our primary research data. We intend to have a pretest of our study by issuing questionnaires to 10 individuals in order to gauge the effectiveness of this instrument to gather the required data and see how easy to navigate and understand the respondent found it. We will also be discussing our instrument and research objective with the professor to ascertain if the instrument will be able to collect the required data.

3.1.3 Data Collection & Analysis

As mentioned earlier, the sampling frame includes students and employees of Seneca College as we intend to collect all data within Seneca College – Newnham campus, having students and staff as participants.

Each group member will be tasked with distributing and collecting questionnaires from 35-40 individuals. Of these estimated 160 individuals, we will distribute our questionnaires by employing probability sampling, specifically, simple random sampling as mentioned earlier. We will take necessary steps to ensure that every participant in the population has an equal chance of being included in the sample. Arranging multiple days and various data collection spots across the campus is our strategy to eliminate sampling errors.

We have chosen to sample due to budget and time constraints as all investigators are students and do not have enough time or available resources to obtain information from the population. Also, we will not be able to talk with everyone that represents the population as we will have limited access to every individual.

However, it is well documented in multiple research sources, samples can provide reasonably accurate statistical information in regards to the population. Data obtained from the questionnaire mentioned earlier will be analyzed using descriptive statistics as we look to summarize collected data (e.g. Average, median, mode). We also intend to use the data collected for inferential analysis as gathered information will be used to predict the behaviour of the population.

For this project, our population comprises Seneca College students and employees notwithstanding their current employment condition (employed/unemployed) or employment type (contract, part-time, full time). We will be collecting an estimated 160 samples to ensure that we have a fair representation of the population. Ideally, we will want to have our samples to be based on statistical recommendation as calculated using the formula below.

Using our best judgment, we estimate the population size at the Newnham campus to be 16,000. This number excludes individuals who do not work or take classes at the Newnham campus. We also want a confidence level of 95% and a magnitude of error of 5.

3.2 Secondary Research

Since other studies have been completed that are related to this research topic, we will be reviewing research conducted by other parties. Our compiled scholarly sources will save us time on data collection while allowing us to analyze a wider range of data. It is easier and cheaper to access than primary data. It also gives us data from prior years and using such data, we can track the evolution of networking and track its effectiveness over the years.  We understand that using secondary data also exposes us to the risk of the data being biased and/or may not meet our specific needs. However, to reduce this risk, we will only use data from trusted/verified sources and data that fits our needs directly or is very similar.

      • Chapter 4.0 Results

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 1

Table 1: The age distribution of respondents of the questionnaire.

As seen in Table 1 above, most of our respondents (37.5%) are between the ages 22-25 years, whereas 5% of our respondents are over 35 years old. All 160 respondents were tabulated to create the results. From table 2 below, 42.5% of respondents were able to get an interview through networking and 36.9% were not.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 2

Table 2: The distribution of respondents whether they were able to get an interview through networking.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 3

1 =  Weekly, 2 = Monthly, 3 = Quarterly, 4 = Annually

Chart 1: Relationship between age of participant and average networking regularity.

From the graph above, the mean regularity of respondents aged 18-21 are networking on a monthly or quarterly basis. The regularity of respondents aged 26-28 are networking quarterly, and the ones over 35 years of age are networking monthly. Graph 2 below shows the results of how many individuals secured a job interview through the various types of networking. The highest is 21 individuals who got an interview through professional referrals. 17 people got an interview through family and friends, and 14 people got interviews through 2 or more networking types listed below in the graph.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 4

Chart 2: Distribution of the types of networking that has assisted in obtaining an interview for respondents

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 5

Chart 3: The frequency distribution of the types of networking used to obtain the respondent’s current employment.

The chart above shows that family and friend referrals is the most common type of networking among the respondents with 34 responses. The second highest stands at 12 respondents who said they used two or more types of networking to obtain their current job.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 6

Table 3: Cross Tabulation of the distribution of individuals showing relationship between age and form of networking people engage in.

 

The table depicts the results of the forms of networking people engage in in comparison to their age. 69 out of the 141 individuals who responded said that they engage in two or more types of networking and 48 of the 69 respondents are aged 18-25 years. 7 out of the 8 people aged over 35 said they engage in two or more networking forms.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 7

Chart 4: The histogram of studentized residuals compares the distribution of the employed individuals to a normal distribution. The smooth line represents the normal distribution. The closer the frequencies of the individuals are to this line, the closer the distribution of the residuals is to the normal distribution.

 

This chart shows the result of the linear regression analysis of employed individuals and networking, with networking being the predictor and employment being the target. From the line shown, the results are skewed to the left.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 8

Table 4: Two-tailed statistical correlation between employed individuals and their participation with networking

 

From table 4, there is a positive, but weak correlation between employed individuals and taking part in networking as evident by the Pearson correlation of 0.28. In table 5 below, there is a more positive correlation between interviews obtained through networking and the role of networking as the Pearson correlation is 0.312.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 9

Table 5: Two-tailed statistical correlation between interviews obtained through networking and the type of networking role used.

  • CHAPTER 6 – POINT 1

The study shows various elements of networking and employment as mentioned in the research objectives. It shows correlation between employment and age as older respondents were more likely to either be employed or have previous work experience. Additionally, there were observed relationships between networking types and frequency of occurrence.

Professional referrals shows to be the most sought of the networking for individuals who are already employed while reaching out to family/friends and LinkedIn is popular amongst individuals seeking employment. These individuals seeking employment were mostly young in their 20’s  and often have no prior professional employment. This could be an underlying reason why they often result to family, friends and LinkedIn in lieu of professional referrals as they have very few or none.

Family and friends is the most popular source of networking for individuals who have obtained employment or interviews via networking. As opposed to popular belief that a professional networking site like LinkedIn is likely to be the most effective way of networking in our modern day and age, the oldest, tried and trusted word of mouth from relatives and acquaintances seems to hold more value. This  results shows that although networking has evolved since the time of the early man, the oldest form of networking has not lost its ability to connect people to employment opportunities. This could be as a result of trust of the referrer who has a close relationship with the individual seeking employment and vouches for their ability to provide value and be effective in the role which employment is being sought for.

An interesting part of this study is the distribution of the regularity of engaging in networking activities across various age groups. The results come with a lot of surprise and counters the notion that most individuals who are within the average age group of young professionals or recent graduates often engage in professional networking more often than the older individuals. Per the study results, older individuals (respondents who are over 35 years on average) engage in networking activities more often than those under 35 years.

On average those over 35 engage in networking activities on a monthly basis and those between the age of 26 and 28 engage in networking activities on average every quarter. (Refer to Chart 1: Relationship between age of participant and average networking regularity for a visual representation of the distribution).

It is important to note that  a portion of the individuals that participated in the study often engaged in more than one form of networking as opposed to just putting all their eggs in one basket. The combination of family and friends and LinkedIn is most recurring.

To put the study in perspective and answer one of the burning questions that motivated this study; Indeed, some networking activities seem to be more effective than others. although, this is not a general truth for all and sundry. Actually the networking method  people find effective is more dependent on factors like current employment status, previous employment/profession, age. Younger individuals who do not have previous work experience tend to network with family/friends and LinkedIn and have had positive results with this combination. On the other hand, older individuals who already have experience professionally often rely on their professional contacts for referrals.

Overall, a significant portion of the respondents that engage in networking activities often found that there are advantages including securing interviews and obtaining employment.

Ultimately,  the result from the primary research suggests the rejection of Ho (null hypothesis); Therefore Ha (alternative hypothesis) is proven to be accurate; therefore, Networking does play a role in obtaining employment. It might be to a varying degree for different individuals however the overall consensus is that it  provides an advantage in obtaining interviews for job opportunities and employment

POINT 2

Account for the research findings, relate back to the previous research and theories highlighted in the introduction

POINT 3

6.3 Limitation of Study

Limitation of the current study

The scope of the study encompases key aspects of networking. The study covers the evolution and current nature of networking. Explored are the networking options available, links (if any) between networking and obtaining employment and discussion of primary research results as well as peer reviewed journals where both qualitative and qualitative research methods and findings are used to deduce a conclusion. The respondent people within the Seneca community and the primary research uses a questionnaire as the instrument to collect the opinion of both employed individuals and students within the aforementioned focus group.

In addition to the aforementioned scope limitation of the study, there is also a limitation based on the sample size of the study as only 160 respondents were involved in the research. This sample size presents a risk of sampling error of not having sufficient samples for the study. This is considering that the population of Seneca students alone across all campuses is 27000 (including full time and part time) and staff are estimated at 5000 individuals across all campuses. Therefore there is a slight likelihood that the responses of the participants may not reflect the fact and truth about the population. In order to mitigate this risk, probability and random sampling was employed to give everyone in the population a fair and equal chance of participating in the study.

Following the completion of this study, future research can be done to ascertain what kind of networking is most effective and how individuals and professionals can leverage networking for career growth. This will provide insight as to the efficacy of networking in career development and degree

Overall, the study shows that networking is effective for the greater majority of participants. This outcome can be inferred to the population of jobseekers and currently employed individuals seeking career growth across all age groups and educational backgrounds.

  • Chapter 7-7.3 Conclusion

From the onset of this study, there was a popular belief that networking is the way to go for easier access to employment. There was no question of a person’s ability to obtain employment on their own; however, it has always been said that networking makes job search easier.

Based on the results of the study, there is now concrete evidence to support this notion which is presented in the  hypothesis test in the earlier part of this report. Indeed, networking does play a role in obtaining employment.

Therefore, Ho is rejected as evidence from the study shows that networking is important and plays an integral role especially for job seekers as it enhances their chances for employment. Additionally, the study shows that some types of networking are more effective that others and people often rely on first and second degree connections for employment search.

7.4 Limitation of the current study

As mentioned earlier, the scope of the study is intensive as the study objective is to provide answers to common questions people have with regards to networking and employment. The study included primary research where 160 respondents were selected through probability sampling (using simple random sampling technique) to provide their opinion with regards to the two major variables being discussed – employment and networking. The scope of the study encompases networking and employment as a joint variable and explores the relationship they have with each other.

It is important to reiterate that although statistical sampling was employed during the study, the small sample size of 160 is a limitation to this study as the opinion on the sample may not reflect the true nature of the variables for the population.

7.5 Recommendations

Subsequent to this study, there should be more studies into networking, employment, career development and the intertwined relationship these three variables may have. They may be correlated or have a cause and effect relationship. This is still unknown and should be explored further even if it is for the purpose of basic/pure research.

Nonetheless, a number of people may argue that the aforementioned study qualifies as applied research as it answers specific questions most employed and even unemployed individuals have about the relationship between networking, employment and career development. This is because most people who are employed or seeking employment also want to grow in their profession. The outcome of the proposed study will shed light on the possibilities of networking playing a role.

ABSTRACT

Most individuals go through some sort of education be it formal or informal for the primary purpose of providing value through paid or unpaid employment. Potential new entrants of the labour market are curious to understand and develop an effective and efficient way to obtain work.

Primarily, students and recent graduates look to create a path to lead them to their dream jobs or career despite not having work experience in the field they hope to be employed in. This raises many questions including but not limited to, “How can we be competitive in employment search when resumes are gap-ridden? How effective is networking in finding employment? And how job seekers use social networks professionally?” Over the years, there has been a common recommendation that most recruiters and career planners often point to as a sure path to secure employment – “Networking”. Hence, the ensuing study.

During the study, a questionnaire was used to gather information from individuals including employees and students at Seneca college. All individuals had equal chance of participation.

The notion that networking is the ‘Holy Grail’ that provides opportunities to employment, especially in North America and is substantiated and concretised by the study as Networking especially through family/friends and LinkedIn assisted in obtaining employment or landing an interview among a significant portion of the respondents.

2. Results & Discussion about (Professional Networking: A Study on the Effectiveness of Networking in Finding Jobs)

3.1 Most interesting finding about (Professional Networking: A Study on the Effectiveness of Networking in Finding Jobs)

4.1 Suggestions to improve the research based on each chapter below.

  • Chapter 1.0 Introduction

Employment is one of the few things that most people look forward to in their life. Just like in any facet of the world, potential new entrants of the labour market are curious to understand and develop an effective and efficient way to obtain paid work.

The need to find rewarding employment is expressed by numerous individuals across all walks of life. Primarily, students and recent graduates look to create a path that will lead them to their dream jobs or career despite not having work experience in the field they hope to be employed in. This raises the question, “How can we be competitive in employment search when resumes are gap-ridden?” Over the years, there has been a common recommendation that most recruiters and career planners often point to – networking. Networking is often viewed as the Holy Grail that provides opportunities to employment, especially in North America.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

There are many questions surrounding networking: What are the options? Is it different from basic meetings and communication? The effectiveness of networking continues to be questioned. While conducting this research, we will seek to uncover and determine the relationship between networking and obtaining employment. In doing so, we will also evaluate the evolution of networking, preferred methods of networking to obtain employment, and ascertain the role and effectiveness of networking in assisting in obtaining employment.

1.2 Research Question 

Does networking play a role in assisting with obtaining employment?

1.3 Objectives

This research has multiple objectives pertaining to answering real-life questions that are asked constantly about networking and employment. After the completion of this research project, we intend to explore the truths and myths regarding the relationships between networking and obtaining employment. Major aspects of networking and employment will be reviewed extensively to decipher the general beliefs of individuals through in depth quantitative and qualitative analysis. A conclusion will be drawn from the data and information generated through the course of the research. The following are the objectives of the research based on the research question:

1.3.1 To explore the evolution of traditional and contemporary types of networking

The early mentions of networking will be explored and the evolution of networking from what it used to be in the earlier industrial era to the contemporary consensus of what it is in the 21st century. The application of networking in the 1900s will be considered, specific examples will be examined, and comparisons and contrasts will be drawn as applicable.

1.3.2 To determine the role of networking in finding employment among Seneca Students, and graduates/Alumni

We will be exploring the idea whether or not employment has a role in assisting students in finding employment. Special attention will be paid to the individuals within the Seneca College community which includes staff, current students, and alumni. We will be considering these individuals as we believe they have been and/or will be affected by the research question.

1.3.3 To determine how job seekers use social networks professionally?

Employers use social networking sites for a number of reasons related to attracting high quality candidates for current and future openings. This highlights why it is important to keep our profile on social networking proficient. We will include tips and recommendations about how students need to advertise/market themselves in a professional networking setting.

1.3.4 To state our recommendations on the effectiveness of networking in obtaining employment after compiling our findings

After the extensive research process and compilation of primary data, we intend to provide a recommendation about the effectiveness of networking in obtaining employment. Importantly, secondary research, both qualitative and quantitative, will be reviewed and analyzed to compare and contrast our research findings with other scholarly publications and research.

1.4 Significance of the Study

This research study is significant as it affects everyone who intends to obtain employment at some time in their life. It provides an avenue for genuinely curious individuals to access information regarding the effectiveness of networking to obtain employment. If networking is indeed effective, it will point to what kind of networking is effective and what are the available networking options available in modern society. This study, if it confirms that networking is effective, will also help anyone in the job market strategically plan how they will go about looking for employment. People looking for employment can  use the study to see which networking is most effective and which is best suited for their situation. Also if it shows that networking is not effective, then this study will provide new data into this topic that will possibly show how job searching is changing.

1.5 Limitation of the study

The scope of the research we are conducting is quite broad. We will be covering networking and the evolution of networking available at this point in time. We will also look to explore the networking options available in this age. We will also consider employment and find links (if any) between networking and obtaining employment and use both qualitative and qualitative research methods to come to a conclusion. We will be considering the opinion of employed individuals and students generally. However, we will pay special attention to people within the Seneca community.

1.6 Definition of terms

There are a few terms that we will use repeatedly and are defined below for the purpose of this research.

  • First-degree connection – Building and maintaining contact with an individual such as your friend or family through networking
  • Full-time employment – Employment in which a person works anything above 30 hours per week.
  • Networking – The exchange of contact information between people who share similar ideas and interests in a formal or informal setting.
  • Part-time employment – Employment in which a person works a minimum number of hours set by their employer. For this research, it will be working 1-24 hours per week.
  • Second-degree connection – Building and maintaining contact with an individual through a first-degree connection (i.e. friend of a friend)
  • Third-degree connection – Building and maintaining contact with an individual(s) through a second-degree connection (i.e. friend of a friend of a friend)
  • Chapter 2.0 Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

The current population is drastically increasing, while job opportunities remain constant. This means that most people end up being jobless if they are not competent enough or if they do not have connections. The average time it takes an unemployed person to find a job is 9 months (Abraham). This leads to job seekers feeling frustrated with the lack of results. On the other hand, employers might prefer employing those people who the employer knows about their character, personality, qualifications, and work experience. Networking plays a critical role in assisting people in obtaining employment. This paper examines how networking plays a vital role in helping people obtain employment.

Most professionals engage in networking to build their careers in order to gain better access to new job opportunities. According to Arbex, O’Dea, and Wiczer, networking affects the speed and quality of jobs available for professionals. Professionals who are well-networked might obtain job opportunities faster than those who do not have any connections. This implies that networked professionals are always informed whenever new job opportunities arise (693). Porter, et al. assert that the professionals who are networked might get job opportunities faster increasing their chances of getting employed (1-3). This might happen when they are referred or recommended by those who they are networked to potential employers or organizations where they might land a job. Networks shorten the time taken to find a good job compared to those who are not networked. It is also important to note that the volume of networking applied to job hunting is also predicated on the job seeker’s effort, personality, and perception (Bonoli 88-89). A hard working and outgoing person is more likely to realize that reaching out to their professional network will benefit in finding a job, as opposed to an individual whose pessimistic towards job hunting and networking.

Networking also allows people to know when a professional who is unemployed is available for employment or is already employed. When one is not networked, people and employers might not know when one is already employed or when they are available (Melanthiou et al. 31). This makes them lose a lot of job opportunities that might be available for them as employers and colleagues might think that the professional is employed. However, staying close with other people and employers through networking creates strong networks where the connections make it known to colleagues and potential employers when the professionals are available. According to Jordan and Weller (1), networking makes it easier for the people to be updated regularly, making the availability of the professionals known to potential employers when job opportunities arise, which increases the chances of getting employed. Networking thus plays a role in improving the chances of professionals getting employed through making their availability known to colleagues and potential employers.

Professional networking through social media sites could also aid in seeking job opportunities. According to Mowbray and colleagues, social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have played a vital role in helping people get employed. Also, social networks either substitute for or complement formal institutions, like employment agencies or insurance companies (Bloch 183). Communication through social media helps people connect and network with others, allowing potential employers to know the professional positions of the professionals, their jobs and career experiences, and also to maintain relationships. Such relationships might prosper such that whenever there is an open job opportunity, an employer might contact a potential applicant through social media and link them to get the job. Job seekers could also create profiles on social media sites and use the profiles to connect with potential employers directly. Such networks could land one a job faster compared to when conventional methods of seeking employment are followed. Social media networking can thus play a role in helping people get employment.

Finally, networking can be used by large organizations to connect with colleagues from different cities, countries, or states (Erickson 127). This creates a network that can be used to seek talented professionals to fill vacant positions whenever they are open at the organizations. Networking makes it easy for organizations to reach potential employees globally more easily. Noe and colleagues affirm that technology has eased the recruitment process allowing employers to connect with professionals globally and contacting them online through video conferencing and examining if they qualify and recruiting them in the process. The networks people create through connections with other people or organizations make it easy for the people to be recognized and be employed. Networking can thus play a critical role in helping people get employment.

2.2 History and Evolution of Networking

Networking methods have evolved over time and requires research to investigate how it all started. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were applied to investigate the role of networking in the past. Empirical research conducted back in the 1930s indicates that social networks play an important role in job search (Krauth 1). Krauth also mentioned that Bewley lists 24 studies between 1932 and 1990 that estimate the fraction of jobs obtained through friends or relatives, with most estimates between 30 and 60 percent. By any statistical measure, the estimates of 30% and 60% is quite significant to attribute to the relationship between networking and employment.

Twenty years later, the use of networking has grown to be a human resource tool due to the increased use of social media. Social media platforms have transformed the way people socialize. Not only are they able to share and like photos, they allow individuals to connect globally and instantaneously (Thomas et al. 307-308). 45% of companies in 2009 used social networking as a method to screen job applicants (Vicknair et al.). Another example of social networking is illustrated in Doyle’s article, “How to Use Networking to Find a Job”. She talks about how her father was able to secure an engineering position just by having a conversation on an airplane. Job seekers and employers have appreciated this method of networking as it is easily accessible, cost efficient and time efficient. Some social media networks are primarily used for networking. For example, LinkedIn allows you to upload your resume, add people to your connections, and read informational posts pertaining to job positions or the workplace industry of their preferences (Davis et. al 9). From a LinkedIn survey conducted in 2017, 80% of approximately 16,000 Linkedin users consider professional networking to be important to career success. 35% of those people say that a casual conversation on LinkedIn has led to a new opportunity (Doyle). On the other hand, Twitter and Facebook are used for social connections, but also allow you to post and share insightful information for the community or other professionals to see (Dargie). These posts generally pertain to the user’s leisure activities, therefore having a small effect on job seekers and employers.

2.3 Significance of Networking in Job Hunting   

Search firms and employment agencies acquire labour force through newspaper/journal, and online advertising, but networking is an integral and necessary tool to be used in order to obtain employment. This is known as “The Incredible Power of Networking” (Beatty). Individuals have built a mutually beneficial relationship with other parties that contribute to each other’s interests. During networking activities, people share their knowledge, ideas and skill set which puts one ahead of the pack in a race for employment as information shared could be relevant about a particular company, industry or job opportunity. Effective networking creates an advantage in using our daily interactions as a stepping stone to succeed in finding hidden employment opportunities (Reynolds 2). There are many tools and strategies available to jobseekers to obtain employment. Similar to the views noted in the book referenced above, Daniel J. Ryan’s book, “Job search handbook for people with disabilities”, references the effectiveness of networking in obtaining employment and career development.

However, questions are raised on the effectiveness and the importance of networking in job hunting. Several researchers have done in depth analyses and discussed personal experiences with regards to the efficacy of networking in job hunting. This is especially outlined by Zvi Band, in his publication in the Talent Journal, Master Your Networking Game, where he states that companies fill as many as 85 percent of all jobs via networking. A 2016 LinkedIn survey reports that 70 percent of people were hired at a company where they had a connection. Professionals who are trying to grow their careers or move up the ladder can find this statistic disheartening (1). These relationships are an important component to one’s career development (Blancero). Without networking, Band would not have obtained a position as a Chief Technology Officer and would not have enjoyed the many benefits the positions have brought to him with regards to career growth and learning (3). Last, networking is important because certain jobs are not available and advertised, preference is given to personal connections, and advertised jobs attract too much attention and volume (Headhunters). This leads companies to use networking as a cost efficient and time saving tool.

2.4 Degree Connections in Networking 

It is important to note that all networking types are effective to varying degrees. Labour markets outcomes have shown that employee referrals are used as a hiring channel by labour economists (Montgomery). Information supplied via contacts to workers or employers can increase the number of job openings a worker hears about as well as provide information that could be difficult to obtain. This also increases the number of job offers a worker receives as well as improving the fit between the worker and job (Mouw 869). There are other various networking platforms such as your personal network – people who are already part of the tapestry of your life: family, friends, clubs, alumni groups, professional contacts; and social networking like LinkedIn, are the norm in today’s professional world (Reynolds). However, based on the expected outcome of networking or type of employment being sought, certain networking strategies could be more effective than others. In the early stages of networking, individuals refer to people they worked with or they personally know to positions that may or may not be available to the general public. This shows family and friends play a vital role in connecting their loved ones with employers for desirable and rewarding positions. This is referred to as a first degree connection published in a document by Ryerson University’s Career Development & Employment Centre.

Friends and family play a role in obtaining employment as there are varying efficiency in various formal job search channels (Pellizzari). Individuals seeking a job change often begin by contacting their colleagues, acquaintances, family and friends to let them know they are interested in finding a job and to inquire about job leads or opportunities (Forret 276). Logically speaking, it is obvious that a personal recommendation from a friend or family member could be more valuable than that of a stranger. In a study of unemployed youth in the United States, it was found that contacting friends and former colleagues is the most useful method in searching for jobs (Bonoli 86). Also, using first degree connections for job search could lead to a wage premium or discount (Pellizzari). This is an obvious reality as personal connections can be effective to obtain higher wages as well as lower wages if the job offering is predicated on mutual economic benefit for both the employer and job seeker. On the other hand, referred workers earn on average less than their non-referred counterparts. This holds true in formal-sector positions and is not applicable for informal-sector positions (Diaz 1).

It is important to highlight that Diaz has studied the effect of information connections and networks in employment search with her studies primarily in Columbia. 70 percent of salaried workers declare that they obtained their actual job through friends, relatives, or colleagues. Similarly, 40 percent of unemployed workers report using job informational networks as the main method to seek for a job (Diaz 1). This is a staggering statistic as it shows how much people rely on informal networks to obtain employment opportunities even outside North America.

Additionally, second- and third-degree connections arise when referrals occur among professionals that have mutual ties to family and friends. A second-degree connection is used to better diversify, add value and grow your network. Doing so, you are able to leverage a larger network to your benefit (McKenna). They are just as effective as the other degrees in achieving your goals as it opens the opportunity of meeting new people and creating relationships.

2.5 Relationship between Networking and Compensation

A common empirical finding is that job offers through the public employment office are characterized by low wages and high rejection rates by the unemployed (Weber 154). But the unemployed have to realize that networking helps one get quality and higher-paying jobs compared to those professionals who are not networked. Through referrals, employers are more likely to pay better since they can be trusted more easily compared to those who little is known about them (Arbex et al. 693). It is easier for employers to pay their employees better when they are guaranteed better results compared to when they are in doubt about the productivity of the new employee. This is the reason why most companies start from a lower salary then increase salaries based on employee performance. Additionally, it is easier for companies to give the most quality jobs to those employees that are recommended or those internally nurtured within the company (Jordan & Weller). This implies that networking could introduce better candidates for a job, which shows that networking plays a critical role in getting quality jobs to professionals. A stronger and wider network of connections allows professionals more job offers. More job opportunities imply that the likelihood of professionals getting a job match is higher. Networking, therefore, plays a crucial role in assisting with obtaining employment.

Similar to the views outlined by Zvi Band mentioned above, Arbex, O’Dea and Wiczer discusses their empirical findings showing that active networking is a very potent tool for finding employment and career growth. Network‐found jobs have higher wages, and thus better‐connected workers climb the job ladder faster (693). Following the findings discussed above that were published in the International Economic Review journal, it is apparent that networking plays a vital role in job hunting as it not only assists in getting a job, it helps people get their preferred jobs and better pay.

2.6 Conclusion

Professional networking has been an important aspect and focus of individuals that are in the job market. The goal of this literature review was to analyze the results of previous studies on the topic, understand the history and evolution of professional networking,  analyze what previous studies have shown on the significance of networking in job hunting, the various levels of the professional network connections and also the relationship between networking and compensation.

The literature reviewed showed us that social media has transformed the way professional networking is done and more jobs are being showcased on social media platforms. (Thomas et al 2015, Vicknair et al.2010, Davis et. Al 2020). It was also found that there are various degrees to a professional connection and these different degrees can be leveraged into finding and getting job opportunities. (Pellizzari 2010, Forret 2014, Mouw 2003). However, a more in depth and current study on the significance of networking and finding a job will give a deeper insight and current understanding of the topic.

  • Chapter 3.0 Methodology 

The proposed methodology for this research is to collect both qualitative and quantitative data for analysis. For the quantitative aspect, we will be discussing the research question and representations of scholarly publications while providing figures and statistical evidence to support these representations. Whereas for the qualitative aspect, we will be assigning a quantitative weight to the qualitative data in order for us to analyze the data effectively.

Both qualitative and quantitative data were selected because these two types of data go hand in hand when it comes to analysing and are not usually opposites. Using these two types of data, we will be able to better understand the role of networking in getting jobs by enabling us to have a well-rounded analysis at the end of the project. By assigning a quantitative weight to the qualitative data for analysis, it may increase the margin of error as it is an estimate. However, to reduce this margin of error, we will be assigning the weights by making educated estimates and by making sure it is not biased in any way.

The data will be collected using both primary research and secondary research techniques and is discussed in more detail below.

3.1 Primary Research

We will conduct our primary research by using questionnaires to survey a random sample of working individuals in Toronto and the GTA. Our questions will consist of open ended, closed ended, quantitative and qualitative questions. The reason we have decided to use primary research is because it will give us access to new and firsthand information about the role networking plays in getting a job. In addition to that, it gives us more control of how we are collecting the data, as well as control over the relevance of data that we collect in regards to our research project. It also increases the reliability of the data that we collect as since we are collecting that data ourselves from a trusted source. Collecting primary data also increases our understanding of the topic as we gain a deeper insight of the topic versus using solely using secondary research. Primary data also reduces biases of the data used in the research as the secondary research may be biased to the researcher’s agenda. We understand that primary research has its disadvantages such as being time consuming as well as being more expensive. Since primary data is vital for a fair analysis of our research, we are willing to take the necessary time to collect the data.

3.1.1 Sampling and Population

Our population will consist of Seneca students and employees particularly from the Newnham campus. We will be approaching about 160 individuals to complete our questionnaire. The 160 individuals we will be approaching will be our sample. We intend to have our sample collected without any biases and sampling errors. Our sample should contain students of Seneca College who are employed in contract, full-time or part-time positions; our sample will also contain Seneca staff. We will try to eliminate any biases or unequal distribution by making sure that we have an equal distribution between part-time workers and full-time workers. In the event that the 160 individuals surveyed does not provide a fair distribution and representation of the population characteristics in terms of proportion of participants in each category we may increase the sample size or collect new.

While collecting samples for our primary research, we will be employing simple random sampling. Simple random sampling is a probability sampling method where there is equal probability of every individual in the population to participate or to be selected. Our intent and reasoning for this is to ensure every individual chosen is entirely by chance and ensure we provide everyone/individual in the population an equal chance of being selected.

In addition to having equal probability of representation and being selected, we also believe that using simple random sampling provides our research with a higher degree of accuracy as opposed to other sampling methods. Having everyone with an equal chance of participating provides our study with a distribution that is not skewed and fairly representative of the population.

3.1.2 Instrumentation

Our questionnaire will consist of questions aimed at drawing a correlation between networking and finding a job. The questions will range from, the type of networking, length of networking, and if networking had any influence at all. After collecting all primary data, we will assess the level of influence that networking has on finding a job.

The questionnaire will include a range of different types of questions to ensure that we are collecting relevant information from our participants. Questions will have yes/no options, a Likert scale and one open ended question. The range of mechanisms we plan to employ as mentioned above is in the interest of the research and in accordance with the study objectives.

We intend to have nominal measurement as we will be assigning a value to options in the questionnaire for identification or classification purposes. Additionally, we will be using the Ordinal (Categorical) measurement to rank/scale allowing us to arrange responses. This is made evident by the implementation of the Likert scale and ranking in our questionnaire.

While trying to come up with our instrumentation, we took into consideration the three criteria for good measurement: reliability, validity and sensitivity.

During our study, we intend to have pretesting in order to have a clear understanding if our potential study respondents reaction to the study and instrument we intend to use to gather our primary research data. We intend to have a pretest of our study by issuing questionnaires to 10 individuals in order to gauge the effectiveness of this instrument to gather the required data and see how easy to navigate and understand the respondent found it. We will also be discussing our instrument and research objective with the professor to ascertain if the instrument will be able to collect the required data.

3.1.3 Data Collection & Analysis

As mentioned earlier, the sampling frame includes students and employees of Seneca College as we intend to collect all data within Seneca College – Newnham campus, having students and staff as participants.

Each group member will be tasked with distributing and collecting questionnaires from 35-40 individuals. Of these estimated 160 individuals, we will distribute our questionnaires by employing probability sampling, specifically, simple random sampling as mentioned earlier. We will take necessary steps to ensure that every participant in the population has an equal chance of being included in the sample. Arranging multiple days and various data collection spots across the campus is our strategy to eliminate sampling errors.

We have chosen to sample due to budget and time constraints as all investigators are students and do not have enough time or available resources to obtain information from the population. Also, we will not be able to talk with everyone that represents the population as we will have limited access to every individual.

However, it is well documented in multiple research sources, samples can provide reasonably accurate statistical information in regards to the population. Data obtained from the questionnaire mentioned earlier will be analyzed using descriptive statistics as we look to summarize collected data (e.g. Average, median, mode). We also intend to use the data collected for inferential analysis as gathered information will be used to predict the behaviour of the population.

For this project, our population comprises Seneca College students and employees notwithstanding their current employment condition (employed/unemployed) or employment type (contract, part-time, full time). We will be collecting an estimated 160 samples to ensure that we have a fair representation of the population. Ideally, we will want to have our samples to be based on statistical recommendation as calculated using the formula below.

Using our best judgment, we estimate the population size at the Newnham campus to be 16,000. This number excludes individuals who do not work or take classes at the Newnham campus. We also want a confidence level of 95% and a magnitude of error of 5.

3.2 Secondary Research

Since other studies have been completed that are related to this research topic, we will be reviewing research conducted by other parties. Our compiled scholarly sources will save us time on data collection while allowing us to analyze a wider range of data. It is easier and cheaper to access than primary data. It also gives us data from prior years and using such data, we can track the evolution of networking and track its effectiveness over the years.  We understand that using secondary data also exposes us to the risk of the data being biased and/or may not meet our specific needs. However, to reduce this risk, we will only use data from trusted/verified sources and data that fits our needs directly or is very similar.

      • Chapter 4.0 Results

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 1

Table 1: The age distribution of respondents of the questionnaire.

As seen in Table 1 above, most of our respondents (37.5%) are between the ages 22-25 years, whereas 5% of our respondents are over 35 years old. All 160 respondents were tabulated to create the results. From table 2 below, 42.5% of respondents were able to get an interview through networking and 36.9% were not.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 2

Table 2: The distribution of respondents whether they were able to get an interview through networking.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 3

1 =  Weekly, 2 = Monthly, 3 = Quarterly, 4 = Annually

Chart 1: Relationship between age of participant and average networking regularity.

From the graph above, the mean regularity of respondents aged 18-21 are networking on a monthly or quarterly basis. The regularity of respondents aged 26-28 are networking quarterly, and the ones over 35 years of age are networking monthly. Graph 2 below shows the results of how many individuals secured a job interview through the various types of networking. The highest is 21 individuals who got an interview through professional referrals. 17 people got an interview through family and friends, and 14 people got interviews through 2 or more networking types listed below in the graph.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 4

Chart 2: Distribution of the types of networking that has assisted in obtaining an interview for respondents

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 5

Chart 3: The frequency distribution of the types of networking used to obtain the respondent’s current employment.

The chart above shows that family and friend referrals is the most common type of networking among the respondents with 34 responses. The second highest stands at 12 respondents who said they used two or more types of networking to obtain their current job.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 6

Table 3: Cross Tabulation of the distribution of individuals showing relationship between age and form of networking people engage in.

 

The table depicts the results of the forms of networking people engage in in comparison to their age. 69 out of the 141 individuals who responded said that they engage in two or more types of networking and 48 of the 69 respondents are aged 18-25 years. 7 out of the 8 people aged over 35 said they engage in two or more networking forms.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 7

Chart 4: The histogram of studentized residuals compares the distribution of the employed individuals to a normal distribution. The smooth line represents the normal distribution. The closer the frequencies of the individuals are to this line, the closer the distribution of the residuals is to the normal distribution.

 

This chart shows the result of the linear regression analysis of employed individuals and networking, with networking being the predictor and employment being the target. From the line shown, the results are skewed to the left.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 8

Table 4: Two-tailed statistical correlation between employed individuals and their participation with networking

 

From table 4, there is a positive, but weak correlation between employed individuals and taking part in networking as evident by the Pearson correlation of 0.28. In table 5 below, there is a more positive correlation between interviews obtained through networking and the role of networking as the Pearson correlation is 0.312.

Hey, Please see attached google doc. 9

Table 5: Two-tailed statistical correlation between interviews obtained through networking and the type of networking role used.

  • CHAPTER 6 – POINT 1

The study shows various elements of networking and employment as mentioned in the research objectives. It shows correlation between employment and age as older respondents were more likely to either be employed or have previous work experience. Additionally, there were observed relationships between networking types and frequency of occurrence.

Professional referrals shows to be the most sought of the networking for individuals who are already employed while reaching out to family/friends and LinkedIn is popular amongst individuals seeking employment. These individuals seeking employment were mostly young in their 20’s  and often have no prior professional employment. This could be an underlying reason why they often result to family, friends and LinkedIn in lieu of professional referrals as they have very few or none.

Family and friends is the most popular source of networking for individuals who have obtained employment or interviews via networking. As opposed to popular belief that a professional networking site like LinkedIn is likely to be the most effective way of networking in our modern day and age, the oldest, tried and trusted word of mouth from relatives and acquaintances seems to hold more value. This  results shows that although networking has evolved since the time of the early man, the oldest form of networking has not lost its ability to connect people to employment opportunities. This could be as a result of trust of the referrer who has a close relationship with the individual seeking employment and vouches for their ability to provide value and be effective in the role which employment is being sought for.

An interesting part of this study is the distribution of the regularity of engaging in networking activities across various age groups. The results come with a lot of surprise and counters the notion that most individuals who are within the average age group of young professionals or recent graduates often engage in professional networking more often than the older individuals. Per the study results, older individuals (respondents who are over 35 years on average) engage in networking activities more often than those under 35 years.

On average those over 35 engage in networking activities on a monthly basis and those between the age of 26 and 28 engage in networking activities on average every quarter. (Refer to Chart 1: Relationship between age of participant and average networking regularity for a visual representation of the distribution).

It is important to note that  a portion of the individuals that participated in the study often engaged in more than one form of networking as opposed to just putting all their eggs in one basket. The combination of family and friends and LinkedIn is most recurring.

To put the study in perspective and answer one of the burning questions that motivated this study; Indeed, some networking activities seem to be more effective than others. although, this is not a general truth for all and sundry. Actually the networking method  people find effective is more dependent on factors like current employment status, previous employment/profession, age. Younger individuals who do not have previous work experience tend to network with family/friends and LinkedIn and have had positive results with this combination. On the other hand, older individuals who already have experience professionally often rely on their professional contacts for referrals.

Overall, a significant portion of the respondents that engage in networking activities often found that there are advantages including securing interviews and obtaining employment.

Ultimately,  the result from the primary research suggests the rejection of Ho (null hypothesis); Therefore Ha (alternative hypothesis) is proven to be accurate; therefore, Networking does play a role in obtaining employment. It might be to a varying degree for different individuals however the overall consensus is that it  provides an advantage in obtaining interviews for job opportunities and employment

POINT 2

Account for the research findings, relate back to the previous research and theories highlighted in the introduction

POINT 3

6.3 Limitation of Study

Limitation of the current study

The scope of the study encompases key aspects of networking. The study covers the evolution and current nature of networking. Explored are the networking options available, links (if any) between networking and obtaining employment and discussion of primary research results as well as peer reviewed journals where both qualitative and qualitative research methods and findings are used to deduce a conclusion. The respondent people within the Seneca community and the primary research uses a questionnaire as the instrument to collect the opinion of both employed individuals and students within the aforementioned focus group.

In addition to the aforementioned scope limitation of the study, there is also a limitation based on the sample size of the study as only 160 respondents were involved in the research. This sample size presents a risk of sampling error of not having sufficient samples for the study. This is considering that the population of Seneca students alone across all campuses is 27000 (including full time and part time) and staff are estimated at 5000 individuals across all campuses. Therefore there is a slight likelihood that the responses of the participants may not reflect the fact and truth about the population. In order to mitigate this risk, probability and random sampling was employed to give everyone in the population a fair and equal chance of participating in the study.

Following the completion of this study, future research can be done to ascertain what kind of networking is most effective and how individuals and professionals can leverage networking for career growth. This will provide insight as to the efficacy of networking in career development and degree

Overall, the study shows that networking is effective for the greater majority of participants. This outcome can be inferred to the population of jobseekers and currently employed individuals seeking career growth across all age groups and educational backgrounds.

  • Chapter 7-7.3 Conclusion

From the onset of this study, there was a popular belief that networking is the way to go for easier access to employment. There was no question of a person’s ability to obtain employment on their own; however, it has always been said that networking makes job search easier.

Based on the results of the study, there is now concrete evidence to support this notion which is presented in the  hypothesis test in the earlier part of this report. Indeed, networking does play a role in obtaining employment.

Therefore, Ho is rejected as evidence from the study shows that networking is important and plays an integral role especially for job seekers as it enhances their chances for employment. Additionally, the study shows that some types of networking are more effective that others and people often rely on first and second degree connections for employment search.

7.4 Limitation of the current study

As mentioned earlier, the scope of the study is intensive as the study objective is to provide answers to common questions people have with regards to networking and employment. The study included primary research where 160 respondents were selected through probability sampling (using simple random sampling technique) to provide their opinion with regards to the two major variables being discussed – employment and networking. The scope of the study encompases networking and employment as a joint variable and explores the relationship they have with each other.

It is important to reiterate that although statistical sampling was employed during the study, the small sample size of 160 is a limitation to this study as the opinion on the sample may not reflect the true nature of the variables for the population.

7.5 Recommendations

Subsequent to this study, there should be more studies into networking, employment, career development and the intertwined relationship these three variables may have. They may be correlated or have a cause and effect relationship. This is still unknown and should be explored further even if it is for the purpose of basic/pure research.

Nonetheless, a number of people may argue that the aforementioned study qualifies as applied research as it answers specific questions most employed and even unemployed individuals have about the relationship between networking, employment and career development. This is because most people who are employed or seeking employment also want to grow in their profession. The outcome of the proposed study will shed light on the possibilities of networking playing a role.

ABSTRACT

Most individuals go through some sort of education be it formal or informal for the primary purpose of providing value through paid or unpaid employment. Potential new entrants of the labour market are curious to understand and develop an effective and efficient way to obtain work.

Primarily, students and recent graduates look to create a path to lead them to their dream jobs or career despite not having work experience in the field they hope to be employed in. This raises many questions including but not limited to, “How can we be competitive in employment search when resumes are gap-ridden? How effective is networking in finding employment? And how job seekers use social networks professionally?” Over the years, there has been a common recommendation that most recruiters and career planners often point to as a sure path to secure employment – “Networking”. Hence, the ensuing study.

During the study, a questionnaire was used to gather information from individuals including employees and students at Seneca college. All individuals had equal chance of participation.

The notion that networking is the ‘Holy Grail’ that provides opportunities to employment, especially in North America and is substantiated and concretised by the study as Networking especially through family/friends and LinkedIn assisted in obtaining employment or landing an interview among a significant portion of the respondents.