Meet the new boss; younger than the old boss.
A generation gap is changing "the nature of office life," according to a new CareerBuilder survey. The survey of more than 3,800 full-time workers and more than 2,200 hiring managers reveals how age disparities impact attitudes toward work styles, communication and expectations.
One-third of U.S. workers report that their boss is younger than they are, while 15 percent say they are working for someone who is at least a decade younger.
“Age disparities in the office are perhaps more diverse now than they’ve ever been,” noted Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder vice president of human resources, in a statement. “It’s not uncommon to see 30-year-olds managing 50 year-olds or 65-year-olds mentoring 22-year-olds. “While the tenents 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.”
How is the generation gap impacting office communication, environment, and career advancement? Young or old, face-to-face communication is the preference for communication, but the survey found evidence of a “digital divide,” with 35 percent of those ages 25-34 preferring email vs. 28 percent of those ages 55 and up. Twelve percent of those older workers opt for the phone compared with 10 percent of their younger counterparts.
Younger workers have a “carpe diem” mindset and are less likely than older workers to stay in a job for at least three years (53 percent vs. 62 percent). Instead, almost half (47 percent) of younger workers think you should stay in ajob until they have learned enough to move agead. Thirty-eight percent of older workers feel this way.
Younger workers are also more likely than older workers (61 percent vs. 43 percent) to believe they should be promoted every 2-3 years if they are doing a good job.
They are also less beholden to the traditional 9-5 workday. Arriving late? No problem, as long as the work gets done. Work after leaving the office? Whatever.
Older hiring managers, on the other hand, are more likely to arrive to work earlier than younger managers (53 percent vs. 38 percent), but they are less likely to take their work home with them.
Younger workers also display a more deliberate work style. While older workers prefer to skip the process and dive right in to a project, almost half (48 percent) of younger workers like to write out a detailed plan before acting.
If the generations see eye-to-eye on one thing, the survey found, it is this: About 60 percent of both age groups prefer to eat alone rather than dine with co-workers during lunch hour.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.