A report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that the majority (60 per cent) of SMEs has never recruited anybody over the age of 65, perhaps explaining why just 5 per cent of SME workers fall into this age bracket.
A third say they offered no help whatsoever to help workers extend their working life, compared to just one in five larger businesses.
The top three potential sources of discord when hiring older workers highlighted by the small businesses surveyed were perceived misunderstandings between different age groups, age stereotyping and a lack of shared interests.
Similarly, when it comes to employing more mature workers, almost half of SMEs believe that young managers struggle to manage them.
Dianah Worman, public policy advisor at CIPD, said: Our research into age diversity in SMEs paints a largely positive picture. Its good to see that small businesses, just like their large business peers, clearly see the benefits of an age diverse workforce.
Some are working hard to cater for different workers of different ages but, on the whole, we found that small businesses have a lot more to do if they are to tap into the full range of benefits an age diverse workforce can bring.