25% of supervisors are younger than their staff

how to handle a young managerFor most of us, it’s not reality, but having a young supervisor is obviously a phenomenon that is fairly widespread. At first glance, I’m thinking, “Yeah! Go for it young people!” And then I realized I could be one of those who has a younger manager one day; it made me stop and think. It would be a challenge, but it’s something we may all run into at some point in our careers.

Here is the breakdown according to the SHRM website poll for the question What is your age in relation to your supervisor?:

  • I’m Older-26%
  • I’m Younger-56%
  • I’m About the Same-18%

I think the toughest one on there has to be being older than your manager. But on the flip side, it has to be stressful for a manager to step into a role with subordinates that could be twice his/her age. I’m certainly not saying we shouldn’t have a wide range of managers, because great managing talent/ability is found in all sorts of individuals, no matter how many years are under their belt. Simply making the observation that this could be a friction point between a good manager and an otherwise good employee if age is lumped in.

Interesting stuff! So, where do you fall on the list? Are you older than your supervisor, younger, or about the same?

0 thoughts on “25% of supervisors are younger than their staff

  1. Chris Ponder II

    Great post!

    When I became a manager, all of my direct reports were much older than me. It all depends on how one approaches it. Some people will just have an issue reporting to younger people and some just don’t care – it depends on the relationship.

    With my group, we all respected each other and we all worked hard.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Rachel - Former HR Blogger

    My supervisor is older than me, but all of my direct reports have been older than me and even older than my supervisor. With my first direct report I was very aware of it. I think she used my nervousness about it to her advantage. After she was let go, I let go of all of my age baggage. I’ve now supervised plenty of older individuals with no acknowledgment and no issues surrounding it. As long as you stick to acting like a good supervisor and providing the necessary negative and positive feedback, age doesn’t factor into the equation.