One-third of U.S. workers have younger boss: Survey

Age differences around communication, career progression
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 09/13/2012

A new generation of professionals entering management could see the correlation between seniority and leadership disappearing, according to a CareerBuilder survey.

One-third (34 per cent) of United States workers said their boss is younger than they are and 15 per cent said they work for someone who is at least 10 years younger.

And while most workers said it isn’t difficult to work for a younger boss, there are differences when it comes to work styles, communication and expectations, found the survey of 3,892 workers and 2,298 hiring managers.

“Age disparities in the office are perhaps more diverse now than they’ve ever been. It’s not uncommon to see 30-year-olds managing 50-year-olds or 65-year-olds mentoring 22-year-olds,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice-president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “While the tenants of successful management are consistent across generations, there are subtle differences in work habits and views that all workers must empathize with when working with or managing someone who’s much different in age.”

Differences between the generations

Work style

25 to 34 years old

55 years and older

Like to communicate face-to-face

55%

60%

Like to communicate by email, text

35%

28%

Like to communicate by phone

10%

12%

Should stay in a job at least 3 years

53%

62%

Should stay in a job until you learn enough to move on

47%

38%

An employee should be promoted every 2 to 3 years

61%

43%

Work 8 hours per day or fewer

64%

58%

Arrive at work earlier than 8 a.m.

43%

53%

Leave work by 5 p.m.

38%

41%

Work after-hours

69%

62%

Arriving on time doesn’t matter as long as work is done

29%

20%

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