Old Age as a Market Advantage: The Example of Staffing Agencies in Sweden

  • Elisabet Cedersund
  • Gunilla Rapp
  • Carin Holmquist
  • Elisabeth Sundin


This chapter is about age, gender, and labor market activities and takes its standpoint from those enterprises that offer seniors as providers of services. Elderly people (defined as over 50) in Sweden are working less than the middle-aged. The reasons for this are much discussed: some people blame the elderly for this situation while others blame the organizations—the employers. As ageism is a common phenomenon and age has negative associations, an enterprise that specializes in offering older individuals as workers into the market does not seem to be a viable proposition. The aim of the chapter is to describe and analyze the enterprises that market themselves as employers of older individuals, seniors, in Sweden. A starting point for the discussion and conclusion is why the owners of these enterprises decide to present their businesses as “staffing agencies” and not through the services and products that they provide. Positive characteristics are emphasized in these presentations, but they also include negative stereotypes of age. Gender stereotyping dominates the way in which the enterprises present and market themselves, but both for men and women the negative stereotyping of age is challenged. The majority of the owners of these staffing agencies are not seniors themselves. Their target group seems to be young and middle-aged customers. The chapter ends with a discussion of the findings, especially about how the negative associations with old age are transformed to something positive in the study context.


Old age Old age on the market Old age and gender Staffing agencies 



The project gratefully acknowledges support from the Jan Wallander and Tom Hedelius Foundation and the Tore Browaldh Foundation.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabet Cedersund
    • 1
  • Gunilla Rapp
    • 1
  • Carin Holmquist
    • 2
  • Elisabeth Sundin
    • 3
  1. 1.Linköping UniversityLinköpingSweden
  2. 2.Stockholm School of EconomicsStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of Management and EngineeringLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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