The major goal of Ageversity is to support multi-generationalism in the workplace and in the classroom. The body of research into this subject is slim but beginning to grow–albeit slowly. For now, researchers are left to read existing research into individual generations to draw conclusions about similarities and differences between age groups.
Some of the best mono-generational research comes from Bentley University’s PreparedU Project, started a few years ago in an effort to better prepare Millennials for the workplace. At the time, employers reported finding Millennials unprepared for the workplace primarily due to their under-developed soft skills (read: people skills). Bentley led the way to resolving the issue, working closely with leading employers to identify skills student needed the most and adjusting the university’s curriculum accordingly. Other universities also took note, revising their own curricula.
The effort seems to have paid-off. Bentley now reports that 78% of employers are reporting that they find university graduates to have the skills needed to perform well on the job. Bentley maintains that its own success in turning this dire situation around is attributable to such things as the “extended” classroom, which is essentially a reference to changing the traditional lecture-based curricula to include more experiential and collaborative learning. Bentley’s research has also identified similar innovation in workplace practices, where many positions are now hybridized versions of skills found in separate jobs just a few years ago:
The report analyzed key jobs and skills across nine job categories representing different business, IT, and analytics functions – such as marketing, HR, and data analysis. The analysis, which examined data from 24.5 million U.S. company job listings from September 2014 to August 2015, found that 71% of in-demand skills are required across 2+ job categories. Candidates that possess those cross-category skills will be best-prepared for the Hybrid Job of tomorrow.
This research is just as applicable to the other generations seeking new employment or upward mobility in their present positions. In fact, older employees could be at an advantage since their years of experience afforded them the opportunity to pick-up skills from a variety of occupational areas. Yet, as noted earlier, it will take research with a multi-generational perspective to prove this observation correct.
Bentley University. (n.d.) About the PreparedU Project. Retrieved from https://www.bentley.edu/prepared/about-preparedu