The twenty-first century multiple generation workforce: Overlaps and differences but also challenges and benefits

Ruth Helyer, Dionne Lee

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)
    727 Downloads (Pure)


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the issues around a multiple generational workforce and more specifically, the challenges and benefits for education providers and employers. Design/methodology/approach: Reviewing research papers, analysing academic texts, interrogating market intelligence and contextualising case studies, the paper examines the "experience" or "qualifications" debate alongside the similarities, differences and overlaps of the cross-generational workforce, with a view to offering education/training solutions. Findings: Demographic forecasts suggest that the UK workplace will imminently be dominated by older, experienced employees. As the composition of the workplace shifts, examining the inter-relationship between groups of workers of different ages/profiles who have different skills, attitudes, expectations and learning styles is vital. The synergy caused by this inter-mingling cannot help but impact on employers, sectors and higher education institutions. Research limitations/implications: Data around the "older" graduate is not readily available - there is still an implicit belief that "graduate" means approximately 21/22 years old. Whilst many general demographic forecasts are produced, the future is still relatively unknown. Originality/value: The paper builds upon the authors' own original research into the employment market from an HE perspective. Little has been so far published around how the generations might usefully work together, especially the idea of adapting the skills and maximising on the overlaps of different generational profiles. The exploration of the hybrid graduate is also a new area for academic research.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)545-578
    JournalEducation and Training
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2012


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