Results of the latest Workforce50.com employer survey indicate that older workers may find greater satisfaction working for a smaller company of less than 50 employees rather than larger companies having more than 1000 employees. It seems that smaller organizations not only value diversity in their ranks but they do actively recognize age as an element of diversity. Interestingly, the perception that a company is age-friendly is very strong for the small companies responding, 86%, even though not all of these small companies recognize age as an element of diversity. In May 2005, The Harris Poll reported that employees of smaller companies, in general, have much more positive views about their jobs.
Small companies are more successful at retaining their older workers as well. Eighty two percent of the small companies responding to our survey affirmed that they are successful at retaining their older employees as compared with only 60% of companies with more than 5000 employees. Small companies, however, report only slightly more success at attracting and hiring 50+ workers.
There are a lot of factors that probably go into this retention phenomenon. Studies have shown older workers to be far less inclined to change jobs. The Harris Poll reported two important findings relating to the differences between older and younger workers and that play into this retention phenomenon. First, a full 59% of older workers get a good deal of their personal pride from their jobs while only 37% of younger workers derive pride from their jobs. Secondly, 64% of older workers “really care about the fate” of their employer. This compared with 47% of their younger counterparts.
What does all this mean to the employer and to the 50+ job seeker? First, older job seekers should take a serious look at the size of the companies they are targeting for work. They may ultimately be more successful at landing that next good job at a smaller company AND they may be much more satisfied with the position once they are there. Next, employers should take a good look at recruiting employees that have personal pride and satisfaction in their work and care, as an extension of themselves, about the fate of the organization for which they work.