Small Companies more beneficial to Older Workers

Results of the latest 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. 



  1. Janet M.Tripp

    I’am 62 years old have work all of my life and I have never sean any thing like this
    looking for a job.I have a college degree and I did work for a company for twenty five years and I did work in the mortgage business wish is very bad now.But they do not want us old people that is for sure no matter how much experience we have.

  2. william Snyder

    A former career successful manager from the recylced paper industry. After 36 years of impecable service my services were no longer needed. This industry has experienced 40+% decline in the past 15 years. Technically skilled at engineering the production process and building company supportive teams doesn’t matter to any company. The do not wish to hire people over 50 years old.

  3. Denise Crooks

    Six months ago I relocated to the US after having managed my family retail business for over 25 years. I consider myself to be a polished individual with strong customer service skills. As a mother of 3 grown children and two young grandchildren, I have had exceptional experience with managing my own household and raising children. After having sent numerous on line applications in my field of work, I decided to apply for a Nanny position.
    Do you know what I was told? That I need work experience here in the US. I would like to know how should I get that? Does one have to make up lies to get ahead?

    I simple have to remind myself that all these employers are losing out with not employing experienced, trustworthy and dedicated people like us who would not leave them after 3 months! It really is their loss!!

    I am really happy for you!

  4. Ralph Intindoli

    I’am 57 and unemployed which I never had been before. I do not know which, being 57 or that I worked in management in the construction industry is making it very very difficult in getting a new job? Its been 10 weeks now and counting.

  5. jerri

    I am 51 and counting….for me it has been a bit over 10 weeks…….I am looking everyday for something……….I have bills you know, and I want to work really bad – but somehow it doesn’t make sense to go from the big whopping $10.00 per hour I get almost from the UNEMPLOYMENT office to go do something like at a grocery store for 7.00!!!!!!!!!!
    What in the world can we do?

  6. sinaKneepes

    Sweet blog. I never know what I am going to come across next. I think you should do more posting as you have some pretty intelligent stuff to say.

    I’ll be watching you.

  7. Linda

    Age discrimination is hard to prove but we KNOW it exists. Employers can use other reasons not to hire us. I remember how easy it used to be getting a job. Oftentimes I’d be hired on the spot. I’m thinking we need to press Congress to pass affirmative action for older workers. Mandate that companies have to have so many older workers in proportion to how many employees they have. I am looking for solutions, even desperate ones. Like another poster here said, “I have bills to pay.” It’s almost as if younger people think after 50 anyone is ready to retire and financially secure!

  8. Ralph I

    Well here I go agin , I am 59-1/2 this should be reqlly fun finding a new job.

  9. Missy H.

    To Janet, William, Denise, Ralph and Jerri.. Don’t give up on yourself! I work for a small company with less than 10 people in it. There are 2 people over 50 who have been there since 1999. They love it and our boss loves them. Keep looking. And just as this article says, look for smaller companies. They are more personable.

  10. Patricia

    The last 20 years I worked with my husband doing office work, the recession really hit us hard, forcing me to go out there looking for a job. I applied to retail stores, clerical positions, nursing homes. What a dissapointment, I’m 53 years old and today unable to get a job. I have no words to express how I feel, won’t give up but the reality is nobody is hiring older people. Now, we live longer compared to 60 years ago, what we are supposed to do with the extra time, we have our minds, we are independent, we excercise, have more experience . We are not invisible. It’s crazy , experience counts, WE ARE NOT INVISIBLE!!!!!

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