The Mentorship Gap: New Research from Mindshare U.S. Highlights Opportunities in the Workplace

NEW YORK—The past few weeks have brought forward countless news stories, research, and features around the gender pay gap in the U.S. And now new data from Mindshare U.S., the global media agency network that’s part of WPP, highlights some of the other critical areas in the workplace where there’s a gender gap in opportunities and benefits.

Mindshare U.S.’s Insights team surveyed over 700 adults across the U.S., gathering insights across workplace cultures, benefits, and more. Key takeaways are as follows.

Companies are lacking in mentorship and coaching

Nearly half (42%) of U.S. employees said that their companies either don’t offer any mentorship programs or don’t offer enough of them. Men are more likely than women to say that they either get enough or more than enough mentorship programs at work, at 57% vs. 42%.

Nearly two-thirds (66%) of U.S. employees rank ongoing feedback or coaching on their work as an important or very important benefit in the workplace. Yet more than one-fourth (28%) of people surveyed said that they either don’t get enough ongoing coaching or feedback on their work or that their companies don’t even offer it. And women are more likely than men to say that as well, at 31% vs. 25%. Or, if breaking down the overall population by age, those that are ages 55-64 are most likely to feel that way as well, at 31%.

“It’s not enough to simply have a once-a-year review, and then set it and forget it,” said Danielle Koffer, Chief Client Officer, Mindshare U.S. “Ongoing feedback and coaching from your manager is one of the most critical components to a person’s development at work, as well as mentorship from other role models. It’s something that should be widespread, not unintentionally limited to specific demographics.”

A significant gender gap in other opportunities

When it comes to working from home, 60% of U.S. employees rank being able to do so sometimes as an important or very important benefit in the workplace—a number that rises to 64% for employees ages 25-34. Yet 24% of people say that their companies don’t offer any opportunities to work from home sometimes. And 18% say that their companies don’t offer enough. But men are far more likely than women to say that they either have enough or more than enough opportunities to do so sometimes, at 61% vs. 43%.

On the flip side, men are also much more likely than women to say that they either have enough or more than enough opportunities to travel to other offices or regions for work, at 62% vs. 43%. It’s a benefit that 48% of U.S. employees rank as important or very important—a number that rises to 62% for those ages 25-34.

Overall, 31% of U.S. employees say that they either don’t get enough flexibility in their working arrangements, or that their companies don’t offer any. Women are much more likely than men to say that they either don’t get enough flexibility in working arrangements, or that their companies don’t offer any, at 38% vs. 25%.

Thirty percent of U.S. employees say that they either don’t get enough opportunities to meet and get to know people from different departments at work, or that their companies don’t offer any. Women are more likely than men to say so, at 34% vs. 27%.

And if employees aren’t meeting other teams and departments, they’re also certainly not getting opportunities to try new jobs or positions within their companies. Thirty-three percent of U.S. employees say that either their companies don’t offer opportunities to try working on a different team or department at work, or that they don’t offer enough. This figure rises to 43% for women specifically, versus 33% for men.

Research Methodology:

Mindshare U.S.’s Insights team surveyed over 700 adults across the U.S. in October 2018, ages 18 and up. The team used The Pool, a proprietary Mindshare research tool.