Ageism – essentially age discrimination – continues to be a problem affecting some companies in the technology sector. Faced with a choice between hiring or retaining experienced IT talent, or going with younger workers most likely to save on salary expenditures, many organizations are taking the latter route. The constant rate of technical innovations also makes firms train their eyes on those fresh to the industry with the newest skills.
Let’s take a closer look at this important issue within the IT industry. Leverage these insights to ensure your company employs a talented and diverse group of technology workers.
Are Older Technology Workers Stereotyped?
According to David Miklas, an attorney specializing in employment law, a time-honored stereotype lies at the heart of ageism in the tech industry. “Many employers believe that older workers are reluctant to try new technologies. Older female workers are more likely to be perceived negatively than older male workers,” said Miklas. Still, the money spent on staffing needs is another contributor to the practice.
Lower salary demands and fewer vacation days make new graduates quite attractive to technology companies, especially startups. In the latter case, the longer hours and extra energy required at these nascent organizations cause them to prefer younger employees. That’s not to say many of these newer companies wouldn’t benefit from the wisdom offered by veteran technology workers.
Detecting Signs of Ageism at an IT Company
Since it tends to be subtle, discovering signs of ageism at a technology organization can be difficult. Kelly Dermody, a partner at the employment law firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, spoke on how the practice manifests itself in the language used by managers speaking with older employees.
“For example, a manager may explain a lack of promotion on the basis that the manager wanted ‘young blood,’ or may describe a decision not to hire the ‘old geezers,’” said Dermody. Additionally, some firms simply won’t hire anyone over 30 or with more than a certain amount of professional experience.
If your company wants to employ the most diverse workforce possible, it is important to understand older technology workers offer significant benefits, especially those who keep their skill sets current. Individual workers who feel they are currently experiencing ageism need to explore the widely available resources to assist them on dealing with the problem.
When you need advice on building a great technology team at your organization, talk to the experts at Venteon. As one of the top IT staffing agencies in the Detroit area, we also provide the great candidates able to contribute to your success. Schedule some time with us soon!