When she embarked on her honours research, Jennifer Mader (Bachelor of Commerce, Honours Management, '20) wanted to find out if age discrimination towards millennial managers (typically a person born between 1980 and 2000) existed in the workplace.
"I was inspired to do this study as someone who's entering the workforce with the drive to become a young manager," she says. "I believe it's important to understand the challenges I may be faced with."
MacEwan University is celebrating student research with an ongoing series of stories that look at subjects our students were investigating throughout 2019/20. Many students who were planning to present at the 2020 Student Research Day have submitted their papers, posters and presentations to the university’s research repository, RO@M.
Title of work: "An Exploratory Study of Millennials as Managers from Employees' Perceptions"
What did the research involve?
Under the supervision of Dr. Theresa Chika-James in the School of Business, Jennifer interviewed 18 participants from two different sectors. Because of the sensitivity of the subject, the interviews were semi-structured to allow for adaptations to her questions. After gathering information from the interviews, she was able to form her conclusions.
What was the conclusion?
The main finding of Jennifer's study was that there is age discrimination towards millennial managers in the workforce. Her other findings included that culture can change a person's perception of age, but she says this finding will require more research, and that millennial managers face challenges because of their age.
What was most surprising to learn?
Jennifer's results were close to what she predicted, but she was surprised to see that sometimes age discrimination is a subconscious act that people are not aware of or are in denial about. "It was interesting to see people state that they do not discriminate over age, yet when looking at their overall transcript, you can see the underlining discrimination in what they said," she recalls.
Jennifer hopes her research will help provide an outline of the challenges she and other millennials may encounter in today's workforce.
"Ageism is a real problem in the world," she says. "Everyone deserves a chance, no matter their age or other characteristics."
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