Most employees say a mentor is important, but few have one
- More than three-quarters of Americans said they think mentors are important, but only 37% have one and only 56% had one at another point in their careers, according to a new survey of more than 3,000 people by Olivet Nazarene University.
- The majority of mentees, 57%, are at the junior level, according to the study. Mid-level mentees account for 35% of those being mentored. Senior-level mentees make up only 8% of individuals with mentors, the study said. Science, government and education are the top three industries for mentorships. Broken down by gender, almost 70% of women report their mentors are women, compared to 82% of men who say their mentors are men.
- More than half of respondents reported their mentorship evolved naturally, while 14% specifically asked someone to be their mentor. A quarter said their mentors offered to mentor them. The average mentor and mentee spends four hours talking each month for 3.3 years, Olivet found. About 40% report it's difficult or very difficult to get time with their mentor.
Formal and informal mentorship programs are a perk employees say they desire. Such programs can help boost a business' ability to attract and retain talent, one report found. For women and minorities, mentorship programming can be of significant value to a career's trajectory, according to research from Heidrick & Struggles. And Yale findings suggested that speed mentoring is a way to fast track the relationship to the benefit of both parties.
For millennials, who are more critical of development programs than their generational counterparts, mentorship may provide the learning opportunities they need. While they may be happy with their work, they may be concerned about their career pathways. Mentorship may provide a solution, but the challenge for many can be a lack of understanding about how the relationship should benefit the employee. That's where HR can help, standardizing programs and helping mentors and mentees make the most of their time together.
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