What Generation Gap?

October 3, 2017

Most Canadian Workers Fine With Having Younger Boss or Managing Someone Older

Toronto, ON — Age is just a number in the workplace, suggests a new survey from staffing firm OfficeTeam. More than eight in 10 professionals (86 per cent) polled in Canada said they would be comfortable reporting to a manager who’s younger than they are; 92 per cent wouldn’t mind supervising employees older than themselves.

But working across generations isn’t always effortless. Respondents identified contrasts in work ethics or values (27 per cent) and leadership or learning styles (20 per cent) as the biggest challenges in having a younger boss. Similarly, differing work ethics and values (19 per cent) was named the top struggle when managing someone who’s older, but it was followed closely by contrasting ways of using technology (18 per cent).

“In our increasingly multigenerational workplace it’s not unusual for younger professionals to be in management positions,” said Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president for OfficeTeam. “An individual’s performance, initiative and enthusiasm say more about a person’s leadership ability than tenure or years of experience.”

Additional findings:

  • Baby boomers are more open-minded. Workers ages 55 and older are the most comfortable having a younger boss (87 per cent) and managing someone older (97 per cent). They were also most likely to state there are no challenges in reporting to a younger supervisor (29 per cent) and managing someone older (33 per cent).
  • Millennials are ready to manage up. Nearly nine in 10 professionals ages 18 to 34 (87 per cent) don’t have an issue with overseeing individuals older than they are.
  • Communication is a concern for younger workers. Those ages 18 to 34 (20 per cent) were more likely to cite different communication styles as a concern in overseeing an older employee.

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

Vasilopoulos added that diverse employee backgrounds make for successful companies. “Organizations are strengthened by the unique skills, perspectives and insights that professionals can share with and learn from one another,” she advised.

About the Research

The survey of workers was developed by OfficeTeam. It was conducted by independent research firms and include responses from more than 400 Canadian 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.ca/officeteam. Follow @RobertHalf_CAN on Twitter and the OfficeTeam Take Note® blog at roberthalf.com/officeteam/blog for career and management advice.

For further information contact: Naz Araghian, (416) 865-2140, naz.araghian@roberthalf.com