The vast majority (86 percent) of mobile workers own the smartphone they use for work purposes, as do 37 percent of tablet users. Well over half of these workers (61 percent) trust their employer to keep their personal information private on their mobile device.
The research was conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of MobileIron, which surveyed more than 3,500 employed adults who use a mobile device for work in France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
In addition, 30 percent of workers would leave their job if their employer could see their personal information, such as personal emails, texts, or photos, on their smartphone or tablet.
Though the vast majority of these workers trust employers to keep personal information private on mobile devices, they are still concerned about specific types of personal data, the report indicated.
More than half (52 percent) of mobile workers said they are not comfortable with their employer seeing personal email and attachments, while 49 percent expressed the same sentiment when it comes to personal contacts.
"It’s important to remember that businesses can protect employee privacy without sacrificing security," Sean Ginevan, senior director of business development for MobileIron, told eWEEK. "Employers need to explain, in detail, not only what information they can see, but also what information they cannot see. They should also describe what actions they can take with regards to information on the mobile device and why they may need to take action. We advise customers to make privacy information obvious and accessible to employees."
Among Gen M workers-- defined as mobile workers who are either men age 18-34 or people with children under age 18 in their households, 62 percent are comfortable with their employer seeing at least some personal information on their mobile devices, compared to 51 percent of non-Gen M workers.
Of the six countries in the survey, workers in Germany are the most likely (74 percent) to trust their employer to keep their personal information on their mobile device private. By contrast, workers in Japan are the least likely (53 percent) to trust their employer to keep personal information on their mobile device private.
Male workers in the U.S. (64 percent) are significantly more likely than female workers (55 percent) to be comfortable with their employer seeing personal information on their mobile device.
Spanish workers are the most likely (52 percent) to think their employer can see any information on their mobile device, while male workers in the U.K. (49 percent) are significantly more likely than female workers (35 percent) to believe that their employer can see personal and corporate information on their mobile device.
"Regardless of who owns the device, people use them for both personal and business activities," Ginevan said. "This mixed-use scenario means that mobile business technology requires more communication about privacy with employees than any other enterprise technologies."