Do IT Pros Suffer From Age Discrimination?

Age discrimination is a problem is many industry sectors. A survey by mature jobs board Adage last year found that 78 per cent of its users refused to put their age on their resumes. Is the problem as pronounced in IT?

Worker picture from Shutterstock

One key challenge in IT, whatever your age, is maintaining a skills base. Knowledge of older technologies can be handy (ask anyone who revived their COBOL skills ahead of the Y2K crisis), especially as enterprise systems often have an extended lifespan. Yet skilled workers can find themselves priced out of the market, or see their jobs shifted offshore.

Have you encountered age discrimination in your IT career? Tell us in the comments.


Comments

    "78 per cent of its users refused to put their age on their resumes"
    This is nothing but a stupid exercise in futility. If you are given the chance to attend an interview your "big secret" is exposed as soon as they see you. You are wasting your time, and that of the employer. Also, if your work history goes back 20 years, or more, don't you think the potential of an interview is diminished if the employer is looking for a younger person? Most employers can count!
    I am "an old fart" who doesn't have these concerns any longer, but when I did, I have always supplied any information that may enhance - or diminish - my chances at securing a position.

      I have never put my age on my resume. I don't feel it's necessary. It's got nothing to do with trying to trick them into thinking I'm younger, it's just not necessary. Plus it's one less possibly negative preconception they can draw from resume.

    @angus: your post itself manifests some stereotyping in assuming that older workers are likely to know more about older technologies, or be more knowledgeable/experienced. In these days of multiple careers over a lifetime, it's perfectly possible that a 50 year old i has only a couple of years in the game, whereas a 30 year old might have a decade. The trick is to treat every individual on their actual merits, for the sake of both fairness and efficient/accurate assessment.

    @Lorenzo: so if a CV asked for your penis girth, you'd offer it up? Neither are relevant, so should be neither asked for nor given. One thing I might do as an employer would be to ask for age, and filter applicants by their answers: those who refused I'd consider as potential independent (ie. professional) actors. Those who gave their age I'd reject as corporate forelock-tuggers.

    "@Lorenzo: so if a CV asked for your penis girth, you'd offer it up? "

    For IT, no. For porn, why would I hide my considerable advantages under a bushel?

    "One thing I might do as an employer would be to ask for age, and filter applicants by their answers: those who refused I'd consider as potential independent (ie. professional) actors. Those who gave their age I'd reject as corporate forelock-tuggers."

    You sound too clever by half to make a good employer.

      For IT, no.
      Quite. Exactly my point. What's irrelevant needn't be mentioned, on either side.
      You sound too clever by half to make a good employer.
      I'd make a terrible employer, for sure.

    Having hired a number of IT contractors for large projects we couldn't handle in-house, what matters is skills and experience. I might be in the minority, but I hire for the job on hand, not based on preconceptions.

    I've ended up going with people ten years my senior and ten years my junior; If age was a factor in deciding, I would find it by adding up the time in various positions, not from a date of birth.

    In the end it's your skills and attitude that matter.

    If there was an impediment to hiring older people is the same one in every industry: the older you get the more sure of yourself and less flexible you become. The older you are, the more likely you are to have been exposed to management or 'higher' position than the one in the industry you are trying to break into. You don't want to admit that all that time working elsewhere wasn't contributing to your employment prospects now.

    For the young the only way to go is up, and many don't learn to expect to be made redundant until it is too late.

    If you walk into an interview worried that your age will let you down, it should be a sign that your skills and experience aren't up to scratch, or that your expectations are unrealistic.

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