Americans Prefer Not to Work for Family-Owned Businesses

family owned businesses

If you have a family business, then you might find hiring non-family members to work for you to be a challenge.

Unlike the residents of several European nations, most Americans would prefer to work for other types of companies, a survey of a representative sample of adults in the 27 member states of the European Union and 13 other countries reveals.

The poll, conducted by TNS Custom Research for the European Commission, shows that 34 percent of Americans would prefer to work for a family owned business, while 59 percent would rather work for a public company or a private company that was not family owned.

Residents of the 27 countries of the European Union were more interested in working for family owned businesses. Forty one percent of those surveyed said they would prefer employment in a family owned company, while 48 percent would prefer to work in a publicly listed company or private unlisted company.

Moreover, in Belgium, Germany, Greece, France, Luxembourg, Austria, Finland, Switzerland, and Russia, more people would prefer working for a family owned business than for public company or a private non-family business.

Respondents said that family owned establishments offer a number of advantages not present with other businesses. The owners of family businesses have a longer term perspective than the owners other companies, those surveyed reported. Respondents also said that family owned businesses tend to provide better and more flexible working conditions. Those queried reported that family-owned businesses are more lenient and forgiving about mistakes.

Among those who prefer to work in family owned businesses, more favorable working conditions were the primary factor accounting for their choice of employer.

However, the survey also showed several disadvantages of working for a family owned business. The respondents said that family owned businesses provide less career potential and worse job security than public companies or other private businesses.

The study doesn’t include any information about demographic differences among Americans in their preference for working in family or non-family owned businesses. However, it does offer that breakdown among Europeans. For those living on the other side of the pond, the study shows that men, older people, and urban residents are more likely than other people to favor non-family-owned businesses.

Family business Photo via Shutterstock

Scott Shane Scott Shane is A. Malachi Mixon III, Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of nine books, including Fool's Gold: The Truth Behind Angel Investing in America ; Illusions of Entrepreneurship: and The Costly Myths that Entrepreneurs, Investors, and Policy Makers Live By.