SHRM_TL_11.10.17

WHAT GENERATION GAP? Most Workers Fine With Having Younger Boss or Managing Someone Older

Press Release from OfficeTeam

MENLO PARK, Calif., Oct. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Age is just a number in the workplace, suggests a new survey from staffing firm OfficeTeam. More than eight in 10 professionals (82 percent) polled said they would be comfortable reporting to a manager who's younger than they are; 91 percent wouldn't mind supervising employees older than themselves.

According to a new OfficeTeam survey, 82% of workers would be comfortable reporting to a manager who's younger than they are; 91% wouldn't mind supervising employees older than themselves.

But working across generations isn't always effortless. 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's 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," said 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."

Additional findings:

  • 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.

View an infographic of the research and data tables with breakdowns of the results by age.

Britton added, "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."

About the Research
The survey of workers was developed by OfficeTeam. 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.

About OfficeTeam
OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company, is the nation's leading staffing service specializing in the temporary placement of highly skilled office and administrative support professionals. The company has 300 locations worldwide. For additional information, visit roberthalf.com/officeteam. Follow the OfficeTeam blog at roberthalf.com/officeteam/blog for career and management advice.

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