Purpose – Drawing on the recent work of Sennett and others who considered the position of older workers in dynamic economies subject to rapid change, this paper aims to examine the perceived fit between employees of different ages and their employing organizations in four Australian workplaces. Design/methodology/approach – Analysis of qualitative data, collected among workers and managers in four Australian organizations, was performed. Findings – Results suggests that potentiality tended to be prized as an asset over corporate memory. While managers were frequently paternalistic towards their older employees, ageing human capital was often devalued as managers tried to balance operational budgets and organizations sought to remain responsive to changing market demands. Originality/value – The paper discusses the implications for the prolongation of working lives.