Are you an older worker in tech and have wondered why you are not getting ahead in your job? A recent study, reported on by Valerie Bolden-Barrett in the HR Dive, shows that age discrimination is alive and well in the tech industry. That is probably not earth-shattering news, but the extent is bigger than I expected.
Under the EEOC and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, workers over the age of 40 are protected from discrimination by their employers. Unfortunately, in the tech industry, that affords no protection to some workers who have already been discriminated against. The report shows that if you reach the age of 36 in tech you are already on a downward spiral.
“According to Visier Insights Database: Ageism in Tech; the frequency of promotions in tech declines rapidly after age 36.”
At 36 those workers have no recourse under the ADEA which only covers workers age 40 or older.
Why does discrimination occur?
Discrimination occurs because it is done under the guise of not keeping up with technology skills. If people are deemed to be behind the “times” they are often thought to be of no value to the organizations.
The EEOC wants you to be a better employer than that. You need to realize that age discrimination often goes unchallenged because stereotypes about older workers such as not being tech savvy are often considered acceptable. Still, EEOC has pledged to step up its enforcement efforts in that area. However, this won’t do any good for the under 40 worker.
Companies need to monitor
HR needs to monitor how workers in their late-30s are dealt with. To avoid losing talented workers companies need to pay attention to the skills those workers have and whether they staying up-to-date on what is needed. Consistent training and up-skilling will keep your talent in place and help avoid potential discrimination problems as your workforce ages.
Unfortunately the older guy in the picture will never have a chance in tech unless that happens.