Can a person be too old to work in IT? Obviously, some people doing the hiring in the tech industry would seem to think so. A quick perusal of IT job postings will reveal blatant partialities for “new” or “recent” graduates or, in some cases, a preference for a certain year of graduation.
Age discrimination can happen in any industry, but it is more prevalent in IT where hiring companies often view older workers as non-savvy about technology or reluctant to try new technologies. Money can also be a factor. Many tech companies target younger workers because they typically accept lower salaries and ask for less time off.
Whatever the reason, age discrimination is illegal, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that prohibit it. According to the EEOC, age discrimination has become a disturbing issue because it affects so many people who are either working or seeking work in the IT industry.
Here’s how it can happen:
Ageism in the Workplace
While age discrimination in the workplace can often be obvious—ageist comments, harassment, lack of promotions, etc.—it is sometimes subtle and hard to prove. It might just be the way an older worker is treated, in general.
Age bias can also manifest in the language that a manager uses. It might be part of the office or shop humor to call an older worker a “geezer” or refer to him as “Pop,” but the implications are obvious. He is being labeled as a worker who is no longer young and energetic, and he is also being belittled, albeit in the guise of friendly joking, for being an older worker.
Ageism in Hiring
When it comes to hiring, age discrimination can be difficult to prove. After all, how can anyone say they lost out on a job because of ageism if they weren’t called for an interview and didn’t know who was hired?
However, some tactics are more obvious. As mentioned, the wording in job postings can discourage older workers from applying. It isn’t uncommon to state a preference for recent graduates.
Another recent trend is for employers to require candidates to be “digital natives” (having grown up using technology) as opposed to “digital immigrants” (those who began using technology later in life). Because this wording dissuades older applicants from applying, the EEOC considers ads like this to be illegal.
Make Sure Your Hiring Practices are Legal
You might be guilty of age discrimination without knowing you are or meaning to be. Make sure your job postings and interviewing methods do not show bias to older candidates. Let the experts at Focus of Georgia help you. We welcome the chance to work with you and find the best candidates, regardless of age. Contact us. We can help you to develop your team and grow your business.