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As generations continue to mix in the workplace, many older workers are reporting to younger bosses. A new CareerBuilder survey finds that 43 percent of workers ages 35 and older said they currently work for someone younger than them. Breaking down age groups, more than half (53 percent) of workers ages 45 and up said they have a boss younger than them, followed by 69 percent of workers ages 55 and up. This survey was conducted from November 5 and November 23, 2009, among more than 5,200 workers.
Occasionally, the younger boss, older worker situation can create challenges. Sixteen percent of workers ages 25-34 said they find it difficult to take direction from a boss younger than them, while 13 percent of workers ages 35-44 said the same. Only 7 percent of workers ages 45-54 and 5 percent of workers ages 55 and up indicated they had difficulty taking direction from a younger boss.
Workers reported that there are a variety of reasons why working for someone younger than them can be a challenge, including:
"As companies emerge from this recession, it is important for employees to work together and move the business forward, regardless of their age," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "With so many different age groups present, challenges can arise. Younger and older workers both need to recognize the value that each group brings to the table. By looking past their differences and focusing on their strengths, workers of any age can mutually benefit from those around them, creating a more cohesive workplace."
PrimeCB.com, CareerBuilder's job site for mature workers, offers the following tips for bridging generational differences at work: