Employers in the UK risk losing young workers if they restrict personal internet use, a new study has found.

Produced by network solutions provider Telindus, the research suggests that 39 per cent of the 18 to 24-year-olds questioned said they would consider leaving an organisation if such a policy was implemented.

It was also found that nearly 80 per cent of employees within this age range log on to social networking sites during office hours, while 63 per cent download music and 58 per cent watch YouTube videos during office hours.

Commenting on the findings, Mark Hutchinson, managing director of Telindus, said: "An outright ban on personal internet usage is clearly not the right approach to tackle a sluggish corporate network."

However, the challenge is to permit workers enough personal internet time, without compromising the bandwidth required for business applications, he added.

In related news, the Confederation of British Industry has released research which shows that personal internet use during office hours costs the UK £10.6 billion a year.