Startups vs Established Firms: Where Are the Jobs?

September 8, 2016

With all the media attention that's lavished on the startup community, you'd be forgiven for thinking that up-and-coming businesses are the only ones driving the economy. 

In one sense, you'd be right: as a recently-released data set from the US Census Bureau shows, the majority of companies (around 97%) in the US aren't old enough to have celebrated their sweet 16.

But in the sense of things that matter to everyday people in the real economy, those established business--the remaining 3% that have made it past the 16-year mark--take home around 70% of the revenues generated, and employ around 54% of the workfoce.

Of course, there's no telling from those stats about where the good jobs are, but if you're playing the market as a numbers game, the message is clear: older companies are winning.

In that, light, the most worrying stat in the survey--as we've shown in the infographic below--is the dropoff in the number of startups that are making it to a ripe(ish) old age--41.5% of all firms in the US were aged between 11 and 15 in 2014, while just 32.5% were aged between 0 and 5. Whether that dropoff is because more young companies are failing than in the past, or fewer companies are being started, or some combination of both, the odds of the current wave of young upstarts becoming the major employers of tomorrow seem significantly lower than their slightly older cohort. 

(Click the infographic to view an interactive version.)

Startup Hiring Infographic

by Phil Stott 

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