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Just one in eight employees has a mentor 

Mark Farrar

Workers across all industries recognise that having a mentor can help them to upskill and set goals, but just 13 percent currently has one, according to a new Opinium Research study commissioned by AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians). Contributor Mark Farrar, Chief Executive – AAT. 

Opinium spoke to 2,000 employees about their attitudes, along with those of their employer, towards having a mentoring programme – both in terms of being mentored and being the mentor. And while there’s plenty of leaders out there, with more than one in two (53 percent) having acted as a mentor to someone else during their career, only one in four (26 percent) has received mentoring themselves over the past five years. Just 22 percent of organisations represented by those surveyed currently run a mentoring programme – and just five percent of employees working in hotel, leisure and entertainment said they currently receive mentoring.

Workers recognise benefits of mentoring
Despite this, 84 percent of employees who have received mentoring recognised it as a valuable experience – with 72 percent of those who have been a mentor agreeing it was worthwhile. Over half of workers (54 percent) said that having a mentor gave them new skills, with a further 50 percent saying that it gave them more confidence. Having someone to talk with, being able to set goals, and resolving issues were other reasons cited as to why mentors are useful additions to the workplace.

Of those who do not work in an organisation currently operating formal mentoring, nearly one in three (28 percent) employees would like them to. Over half (51 percent) of all employees believe it is companies who should lead in the area of setting up and maintaining mentoring relationships, dropping to just 17 percent who believe the onus should rely on the individual.

Mark Farrar, Chief Executive, AAT said: “A company is only ever as good as the sum of its parts – which is why employers should be seeking to implement effective mentoring schemes that help to invest in staff and impact on their career pathways. It’s clear from our research that mentoring opportunities are not as prevalent as the desire from employees, and the onus is on the workplace to facilitate staff training in this way.
“Equally, workers themselves should consider the various benefits of being a mentor in their own right, both in their current place of employment and within their wider industry. Being a strong mentor makes you a better leader of people, and helps to pass on your own skills and insight to the business leaders of tomorrow.”

Advertising and marketing leads the way on mentoring – with financial services workers wanting more
In terms of individual industries, those working in the advertising and marketing sector receive the best current mentoring opportunities. Nearly half (44 percent) of businesses in this sector have a formal programme in place, with over four-fifths of workers (81 percent) saying they have received mentoring at some stage in their career. A similar number (85 percent) added that they have acted as a mentor to someone else.

In contrast, it is the financial services industry which has the most employees who would like to become a mentor themselves (46 percent). Only 31 percent of organisations in financial services currently run a formal mentoring programme, although this drops to just 13 percent of those working in hotels and leisure.

Sylvia Baldock, a talent dynamics performance consultant, said: “Companies that run mentoring programmes show a marked increase in engagement and a reduction in both staff turnover and absenteeism. Mentoring is a win-win all round, and the more you invest in people, the greater the returns.”

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