ageism tech older people also age technology
The truth about ageism in techIt’s no secret that the technology industry is struggling with diversity. Eventhose who have adopted diversity initiatives often overlook certaincharacteristics such as age. Employers who discriminate against older workers,face the risk of violating the Employment Act which covers age discriminationand protects workers over the age of 40. But despite the law, workers arestill facing age discrimination. Ageism in tech is often unchallenged due tothe stereotypes of older workers not being tech savvy, which is consideredacceptable, but this isn’t the case as some older workers have more experiencein the industry and can be of more value than some graduates.According to a new study, millennials in tech companies receive a highproportion of promotions, despite older workers strong performance records.According to Visier Insights Database, the frequency of promotions in techdeclines rapidly after the age of 36, causing ageism in tech. The report alsostated that the average age for tech workers is 38 compared to 43 for non techworkers and 42 is the average age for tech managers compared to 47 for nontech managers.Below is more information about ageism in tech and ways companies can avoidage discrimination in their organisations.Ageism in techTechnology is future focused and as it evolves and changes, the drive forinnovation keeps everyone looking into the future. With everyone constantlylooking to the future, looking backs seems dismissed. Some employers relatethis with experience, as experience looks back. Therefore, years of experiencein the technology industry isn’t always seen to be as valuable as it is forother industries. Employers sometimes assume that experience shows stagnatedskillsets and outdated expectations.As the millennials are often referred to as the future, the stereotype of anolder tech illiterate person becomes stronger. It has been assumed that justbecause someone is older, they can’t possibly learn new technology andprogrammes. Programmers must be constantly learning as skills can quicklybecome outdated or dismissed. The pace of tech is relentless, and this cansometimes be a problem for older developers and programmers as they may havebecome complacent. These are contributing factors that support ageism in tech.However, older people are generally more patient and diligent and know how tomanage their emotions and time. It is likely that you will find these traitsin someone who is younger, but you will see a higher percentage of thesetraits in people aged over 40. Older people can also be better communicatorsand are more self-aware and these are skills that are essential in thetechnology industry. People who have had experience in the technology industryalso make them more suited to senior roles, rather than a fresh-facedprogrammer, as they will likely have experience in more than just technology.How to avoid ageismTo prevent ageism in tech, you should start by reviewing your company cultureto ensure that it accommodates people of all ages. It is often that the hiringmanager will hire people similar to themselves and not notice their implicitbias. This is problematic as it soon will become clear that people aren’tbeing hired based on their qualifications but how well they would fit in withthe company. There is a large difference between basing a decision on factsand basing it on assumptions.The language you use within job descriptions can be known to discriminateagainst genders but is also the case against age. Using words that help todescribe the job rather than the person needed for the role can help to combatageism in tech. Along with changing the job description, it is also beneficialto carefully design the job application process to avoid ageism in tech.Instead of asking generic questions about previous grades, why not askingquestions which are more suitable for the job role, like ‘Can you use thissoftware programme?’ or ‘Do you have 5 years’ experience in this field?’. Itmust be ensured that every candidate is asked the same questions during theinterview process to make it fair too. You can also use a hiring criteria tofollow as to how decisions are made and follow procedures when it comes tobackground screenings to help avoid ageism in tech.Stereotypes can be unconscious but also very controlling when makingdecisions. Staying clear of the stereotypes can help to prevent ageism intech. Many older people are eager to take on new challenges and learn thelatest programmes and technology. Assuming that they don’t will lead todiscrimination. Implicit bias, discrimination and harassment training arehelpful when trying to avoid ageism in tech, as employees and hiring managersshould be aware of the types of discrimination and implicit biases that cancause ageism in tech.Along with training it is also useful to be up to date with benefits thatolder people will use for example the rules of retirement. As the age ofretirement grows, some people do not want to retire early and are stillperfectly capable of completing work to a high standard. Typically, you cannotforce an employee to retire, so stay clear from asking questions around whenthey’re planning on retiring.Find out more about unconscious bias in the technology industry and ways toimprove your diversity hiring process.