The Truth About Mentors In The Workplace

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The Truth About Mentors In The Workplace

Career and professional development is something that everyone strives for.  And few things fortify professional development more than a great mentor.

To learn more about why this is, Olivet Nazarene University recently surveyed 3,000 people about what the professional mentor-mentee relationship looked like in 2019.

The survey looked at several key factors related to mentors, including:

  1. Industries where mentors are most common
  2. Gender dynamics in starting the relationships
  3. Experience level of people with mentors

The survey found that 76% of people think it’s essential to have a mentor. However, only 37% currently have a mentor now, and only 14% of people have taken the initiative to ask someone to be their mentor. So many people want mentors, but few have one.  Why is this? Let’s dig a bit deeper into the survey results from Olivet Nazarene University.

The survey found that 56% of respondents said they had had a professional mentor at some point in their career. However, only 37% have a mentor currently. Another 9% of people said they might have a mentor currently, but the relationship was unclear or undefined. One interesting point is that people with mentors were slightly happier at their current jobs than people without a mentor.

The survey also looked at the experience level of people with mentors.  A large percentage (57%) of people with mentors were junior level in terms of their experience.  The percentage of people with mentors dropped as experience went up.  Only 35% of mid-level employees had mentors and only 8% of senior-level employees. Specific industries were prone to having more mentors than others.  Listed below is the breakdown of the sectors with the most mentors:

  1. Science (66%)
  2. Government (59%)
  3. Education (57%)
  4. Marketing, Advertising, PR (56%)
  5. Nonprofit, Social Services (55%)
  6. Engineering (52%)
  7. Professional Services (51%)
  8. Finance (45%)
  9. Skilled Labor, Trades (44%)
  10. Healthcare (43%)

One of the things Olivet Nazarene University was eager to learn about was how the mentor-mentee relationship began for most people.  61% of the surveyed respondents said that the relationship developed naturally.  Only 14% of people specifically asked someone to be their mentors, while 25% of respondents said that someone offered to be their mentor. Most people, 59%, find it easy or very easy to get time with their mentor.  Only 15% find it very difficult to schedule time with their mentor. Despite this, most people only meet in person once a month with their mentor.

The survey also looked at whether or not people work in the same industry with their mentors.  Not surprising to see that over 81% of people work in the same sector as their mentor.  61% of people work at the same company as their mentor.  However, most mentor-mentee relationships don’t carry across multiple jobs, and most mentors aren’t current managers. The full report from Olivet Nazarene University can be seen here.

The Truth About Mentors In The Workplace