The tech industry has been scrutinized lately for its lack of diversity. After being majorly called out and even facing discrimination lawsuits, many Silicon Valley companies have been forced to make a concerted effort towards increasing diversity when it comes to race and gender.
But what about age? The stereotype of a grandfatherly type who doesn’t know how to operate his grandkid’s newfangled device is definitely creating a hiring and salary bias in the tech industry.
There have already been a number of age discrimination lawsuits to prevent ageism, as well as reports of the older set seeing their salaries reduced after a certain age. There are even reports of 30-somethings getting cosmetic surgery to appear younger, and thus, stay competitive, in the tech industry.
Job site Indeed recently surveyed over 1,000 workers in the tech industry to find out how age bias is affecting their companies. Almost half of the respondents said that the average worker at their firm is between the ages of 20 and 35.
About a quarter said that the average age at their firm is between 36 and 40, with workers 40 and over comprising the last 26%.
Although older workers are underrepresented, tech workers generally seemed to value the contributions of their elders, with 78% saying that workers over 40 years old are highly qualified, and 83% claiming that they think older workers have gained wisdom through their years of experience.
Nonetheless, the older generation is still a minority amongst tech firms, and 43% of respondents were worried that they would age out of their job, with another 18% worrying about it “all the time.”
Another 36% say that, at least once, they’ve had an interaction at work where it was clear that they were not being taken seriously because of ageism.
In order to increase age diversity, Indeed recommends that tech firms review the language they are using to recruit talent, making sure that it is age-inclusive. They also recommend making sure that the benefits your company provides are appealing to not only young Millennials, but to older workers with families as well.
A Millennial may be willing to work long hours, and be excited by a ping pong table in the company game room, but older workers will care more about having paid leave to spend time with their families, and benefits like health insurance for their spouses.
The good news is that the tech industry seems optimistic. While they agreed that ageism is still an issue, 85% of survey respondents believe that their employer truly cares about improving diversity.