Understanding & Breaking Ageism in Tech
A new study from the job siteIndeed.com indicates that over 40% of tech workers worry that they will lose their job due to their age, while roughly 20% of tech workers are constantly in fear that they could be replaced by someone younger and cheaper.
Articles from other media sources back up the report’s findings on ageism in tech, with USA Today reporting that in many cases, those over 40 have trouble locking down a new job in tech.
According to the USA Today article, the average age of an American worker is 42, but at tech giants it’s much younger. At Facebook, the average employee is just 29. Google & Amazon? 30. Apple? 31. Even Microsoft employees are on average just 33 years old.
Does Tech Have an Ageism Problem?
Research and testimonials from older tech workers certainly seem to indicate that yes, there is ageism in the tech industry and it’s a problem, but a difficult one to solve. It’s not uncommon for qualified candidates to find themselves on the outside of companies looking in with a resume that backs up their capabilities to do a job.
The consensus is that younger people tend to have a more thorough understanding of new technologies, because they grew up around tech. Older members of the workforce are largely late adapters to technology, and had to teach themselves or learn on the job to develop the resume they have today. Salary is also an issue, as older workers often command a higher pay grade than those just starting out, who are often just happy to have a job at a hip company.
Why We Should Solve Ageism in Tech
A lack of exposure to technology at a young age could be viewed as a benefit of an older worker, as most of them have demonstrated an ability to learn their job without formal training. While technologies change, and an older worker may be more experienced in a legacy platform than a newer, similar process, they could likely adjust given an opportunity.
Ageism is a bias in hiring, and failure to hire older workers could be a subconscious problem where hiring managers fail to recognize their discrimination.
Culture is an important aspect of any business; however, positive work cultures are based on inclusion and diversity. People from different generations have an ability to work together and bring different ideas to the table, and that can be a powerful thing for a company.
We encourage those who hire for tech jobs to look beyond the graduation year on a resume and focus on the sum of job and interpersonal skills to make appropriate, non-judgmental hiring decisions for their business.
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