Singapore employees prefer reporting to older managers

Status and seniority still hold a higher value over learnability and competency at the workplace, a study finds

Singapore employees prefer reporting to older managers

Almost four in five employees in Singapore prefer working with a manager who is older than them, according to a recent study by Randstad Workmonitor.

This may be a reflection of a typical Asian culture where people tend to value status and seniority at the workplace over learnability and competence.

The study also found that managing an age-diverse team can be tough in Asia. This is because the notion of respect in the Asian culture can be witnessed in the workplace as managers tend to treat colleagues differently based on their age.

Seven in 10 respondents across Asia said that their direct managers treat their colleagues from various generations differently.

Additionally, communication has been the biggest gripe among age-diverse teams, with almost half of employees finding it difficult to communicate with co-workers who are not from their generation or age group.

This may be a cause for concern as currently more than eight in 10 said that they are already working in a multi-generational team – with colleagues that share about 10 to 15 years of difference in age.

“It is also no longer possible to avoid working in an age-diverse workforce in a country with an ageing population,” said Jaya Dass, managing director at Randstad Singapore.

“A multi-generation workforce works best only when people put aside age differences and focus on the determining factors of a future leader such as leadership skills, competency, learnability and ability to influence.”

On a positive note, majority of employees believe their managers are highly capable of working well with different generations of workers – about 71% in Singapore have faith in their manager’s capabilities.

Also, most employees (87%) do prefer to work in a multi-generational team as they believe an age-diverse team can help promote innovation.

“Having to report to someone who is younger may cause conflict in the company as co-workers may question their authority to lead due to the lack of experience. However, employers sometimes need to make difficult decisions and risk possible conflict situations as they plan for the future,” said Dass.



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