An updated literature review was conducted and a meta-analysis was performed to investigate the relationship between age and work-related motives. Building on theorizing in life span psychology, we hypothesized the existence of age-related differences in work-related motives. Specifically, we proposed an age-related increase in the strength of security and social motives, and an age-related decrease in the strength of growth motives. To investigate life span developmental theory predictions about age-related differences in control strategies, we also examined the relationship between age and intrinsic and extrinsic motives. Consistent with our predictions, meta-analytic results showed a significant positive relationship between age and intrinsic motives, and a significant negative relationship between age and strength of growth and extrinsic motives. The predicted positive relation between age and strength of social and security motives was only found among certain subgroups. Implications of these findings for work motivation and life span theories and future research are discussed. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.