October 25, 2011 / 3:23 PM / 7 years ago

Women missing out on benefits of mentoring: survey

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Many women in the United States are missing the benefits of mentoring, which could be useful in a tough job market, according to new research.

A broker works at Shanghai Stock Exchange in Lujiazui Financial Area in Shanghai January 9, 2007. REUTERS/Aly Song

Although unemployment figures are hovering around nine percent, about one in five working women questioned in a survey by the business networking website LinkedIn said they did not have a mentor.

And 82 percent of the same group agreed that mentoring is important for their career.

“Nobody is re-inventing the wheel,” said Nicole Williams, of LinkedIn. “We all need to be led in life and specifically with our careers. Mentoring is informational and relational.”

The survey, which included 759 women across the United States, also showed that 52 percent of women without mentors said they never found someone appropriate to be a mentor and 67 percent the same group had not been asked to be a mentor.

“People have to understand that mentoring is a reciprocal relationship,” Williams explained. “It is about give and take. If you need something from someone who is busy, you can find ways to relieve them from some burden.”

She added that the key to asking someone to be a mentor is to define the relationship so there will be no false expectations.

“Undefined expectation can cause things to fall apart,” she said. “It is important to have a conversation on what the boundaries of the relationship will be.”

Williams said mentoring does not need to be a life-long relationship and that it can also play a sporadic role in one’s life.

Guidance and recommendations were the main goals women hoped for from mentors, according to the survey.

“We all need cheerleaders and objective perspectives,” Williams said. “We need people to make that process less isolated and intimidating, especially in this economy where it can get lonely.”

Written by Paula Rogo; Edited by Patricia

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