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Center Publication

Understanding Workplace Experiences—Research Highlight

by Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, Christina Matz-Costa, and Elyssa Besen

March 2009—Understanding Experiences in the Workplace, compares the workplace experiences of employees from disparate age groups, generations and career tenures. The study measures the quality of employment using a variety of dimensions that look at employee satisfaction with compensation and opportunities, workplace flexibility and relationships as well as well being and treatment.

The study showed that age and generation differences did affect the experiences of employees in the workplace. Older generations of employees were found to perceive a higher level of work overload and lower levels of supervisor support along with higher career salience, and greater satisfaction with benefits and economic success. Tenure groups, dependent care situations and career-stages were also seen to affect workplace experience.

In order to address the differences in workplace experience, employers must remember that groups have potentially different needs for career resources. They may also perceive the available options differently due to unique situations. Employers may also improve attentions to specific groups by remembering that age and generation profiles do not necessarily correspond to tenure and career-stage. By using more than one grouping system for employees, employers may be able to more effectively address individual needs and situations.

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