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Should I Work for an Older or Younger Business? Advice for Online Management Degree Candidates

Understanding the different opportunities offered by new and established companies can help you choose the right degree for the job you want.

There are nearly 32.5 million businesses in the U.S.,1 with countless factors that differentiate them. In addition to obvious differences like industry, location, and size, a business’s age can be a key factor when deciding your next educational and professional steps.

Currently, about half of private business establishments in the U.S. are more than 10 years old, and about half are less than 10 years old.2 Is it better to work for one than the other? That depends on what you’re looking for in your career. Both older and younger businesses have their advantages—and disadvantages.

Should I Work for an Older or Younger Business? Advice for Online Management Degree Candidates

Understanding Older Businesses

Another term to describe an older business is “established.” And that’s what you’ll find at most businesses that have been around for a decade or more: an established working environment, revenue stream, and management structure. While older businesses come in all sizes, from the local pizzeria to the Ford Motor Company, as a whole, they employ the majority of the private-sector workforce. In fact, older businesses account for 71% of private sector jobs.2

Is an Older Business Right for You?

An older business may be a great choice if you’re more comfortable working for a company with a proven track record and an existing business structure. Older businesses typically offer a level of stability that younger businesses can’t. They also allow you to get a better sense of what your role will be before you take a job. When interviewing, ask how the position fits into the existing structure and what opportunities for advancement and innovations might be available. An older business should be able to provide these answers. Be aware, however, that opportunities for career advancement—along with chances to create new solutions and shape business culture—may be more limited in certain long-established business environments. So before you accept a job at an older business, make sure the career opportunities and existing business culture are a good fit for your goals and personality.

Understanding Younger Businesses2

In any given year, more than half a million new businesses open in the U.S. The vast majority of these are small businesses (fewer than 500 employees), but these emerging businesses account for anywhere from 3 to 4 million new private-sector jobs each year. However, only a third of new businesses survive 10 years.

Is a Younger Business Right for You?

If you want the chance to help shape a business’s culture and goals—while playing an important role in its day-to-day operations and success—you’ll typically have a better chance of finding those opportunities at a younger business. Indeed, younger businesses can be a great place to work if you like dynamic environments where individual contributions carry a lot of weight. Before you take a job at a younger business, make sure you fully understand the company’s business goals and growth objectives and how your prospective role is designed to contribute. But younger businesses do have a greater risk of failure—so you’ll have to decide how much uncertainty is acceptable for your personal and professional needs.

How to Increase Your Chance of Making a Difference at Older and Younger Businesses

If you’re interested in playing a stronger role in shaping the future of a business—whether it’s helping an established business evolve to stay relevant or increasing the likelihood that a younger business will achieve success and longevity—continuing your education with an online management degree is an excellent choice. Some degrees that can help you reach these goals include the MS in Management, MS in Leadership, and Doctor of Business Administration (DBA). You might also consider enrolling in an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program. An online degree program can give you the flexibility and convenience you need to advance your education without uprooting your life.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering online business and management degrees. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,