Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 1–13 | Cite as

Work and Family over the Life Course: Do Older Workers Differ?

  • E. Jeffrey Hill
  • Jenet J. Erickson
  • Kaylene J. Fellows
  • Giuseppe Martinengo
  • Sarah M. Allen
Original Paper


This study explored how older workers (age 55+) differed from middle-aged (ages 35–54) and young workers (<35 years) in their experience of the work–family interface. Data came from a subset of a survey conducted by a multi-national corporation in 79 countries (N = 41,813, n = 2,700). Older workers reported significantly less work-to-family and family-to-work conflict and greater work–family fit, life success, and work success than middle-aged and young workers. They reported significantly greater job flexibility and job satisfaction but were significantly less likely to be aware of and use work–family programs than young workers. Older men reported significantly less awareness and use of work-life programs and less family-to-work conflict than older women. Implications of this research are presented.


Job satisfaction Older workers Work–family conflict Work–family fit Workplace flexibility 



The authors thank International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) for providing the support and cooperation needed to collect the data used in this article. Ideas expressed are the opinions of the authors, not necessarily of IBM. We also thank the Family Studies Center of the BYU School of Family Life for its support of this project. Finally, we thank our research assistants, Sarah June Carroll and Hope Morrison, for their valuable assistance throughout the preparation of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Jeffrey Hill
    • 1
  • Jenet J. Erickson
    • 1
  • Kaylene J. Fellows
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Martinengo
    • 1
  • Sarah M. Allen
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Family LifeBrigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  2. 2.Montana State UniversityBozemanUSA

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