Survey: Most workers fine with having younger boss
October 4, 2017
• Or managing someone older
• “Preconceptions can hinder progress”
Age is just another number in the workplace, suggests a new survey from staffing firm OfficeTeam.
More than eight in 10 professionals (82 percent) polled say they would be comfortable reporting to a manager who is younger than they are. Even more -- 91 percent – say they wouldn’t mind supervising employees older than themselves.
But working across generations is not always effortless, according to the survey. Respondents identified dissimilar work ethics or values (26 percent) and leadership or learning styles (22 percent) as the biggest challenges with having a younger boss. Using technology in different ways (25 percent) was named the top struggle when managing someone who is older.
“In today’s multigenerational workplace, it’s not uncommon for employees to report to a younger supervisor. Leaders are chosen based on their performance and management ability, not the year they were born,” says Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. “While our research shows many professionals are embracing collaboration across age groups, preconceptions can hinder progress. Efforts need to be made to get past stereotypes and build connections.”
• Baby boomers are more open-minded. Workers ages 55 and older are the most comfortable having a younger boss (93 percent) and managing someone older (95 percent). They were also most likely to state there are no challenges in reporting to a younger supervisor (28 percent) and managing someone older (37 percent).
• Millennials are ready to manage up. Nearly nine in 10 professionals ages 18 to 34 (89 percent) don’t have an issue with overseeing individuals older than they are.
• Tech is a target for younger workers. Those ages 18 to 34 (26 percent) and 35 to 54 (27 percent) were more likely to cite technology as a concern in overseeing an older employee.
“Organizations benefit when people of various backgrounds bring unique perspectives to the table. Workers can share their knowledge or pick up new skills through mentoring or reverse mentoring,” says Ms. Britton.
About the survey
The survey of workers was developed by OfficeTeam, a unit of staffing firm Robert Half International (NYSE: RHI) of Menlo Park. It was conducted by independent research firms and include responses from more than 1,000 U.S. workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.