Wanted: more mentors please

A sounding board, a wiser colleague and networking potential top the list of perceived benefits in having a mentor, according to a national survey of 5000 employees.

And while more than 75 per cent of employees would like to have a mentor, only 20 per cent of companies have set up formalised mentor programs.

For 34 per cent of respondents to the TMP Worldwide survey having access to someone to listen to their ideas was the most appealing reason, while 23 per cent said wisdom was the greatest benefit. Nearly 12 per cent of respondents said they would like additional networking opportunities from such relationships. The people most interested in having a mentor, 87 per cent, were in the 19- to 24-year-old age group. Employees in larger companies, almost 80 per cent of the respondents, showed more interest in the concept than did those in companies with fewer than 20 staff.

David Reynolds, of TMP Worldwide, said having a mentor can be crucial in determining business success. "It can open doors and provide increased skills, knowledge, confidence and a greater understanding of the culture of an organisation."

Fiercer competition, downsizing, globalisation and the recent collapse of some of the nation's largest companies have led to an increase in demand for career mentors, the recruitment company said.

Reynolds said mentor programs are equally beneficial to employers because they can help develop more productive, informed and confident staff, with an ultimate impact on the bottom line.

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