Purpose: The aim of the paper is to present and assess professional development opportunities for
older employees in SME.
Methodology: In the process of desk research, the author has discerned a number of characteristics
of training activities conducted by SMEs. The management of older employees’ professional development
is discussed on the basis of selected research findings, i.a. CATI and CAPI surveys conducted
in the framework of the “Comprehensive program of activation of people aged 50+” project carried
out by the Department of Human Resource Management at Kozminski University in 2010–2012.
Findings: The first part of the paper discusses the specificity of training measures undertaken in
SMEs. According to a large body research results available, these include: informality, reactivity,
short-term perspective, focus on solving current problems, “learning by doing”, focus on the development
of specific skills and organizational knowledge, lack of professional organization of trainings.
The core part of the paper focuses on the management of professional development of older
employees in SMEs. The majority of surveyed firms have declared providing their older and younger
employees with the same access to training. However, it does not always mean training is organised,
or that employees aged 50+ participate in it. Moreover, the survey has proven the existence of
significant differences in assessments and opinions among entrepreneurs and employees.
Originality/value: This paper discusses professional development of older SME employees, which
is a relatively new problem; it is based on an extensive body of research. Managing professional
development of older workers is one of the most important challenges faced by SMEs in the twentyfirst
century and it shall require extensive and thorough research in the future.