November 9, 2017
How old is too old for the tech industry? The employment site, Indeed, recently conducted a national study of 1,011 currently employed U.S. tech workers to dig deeper into the issue and here’s what the researchers found.
“While stories about anxious tech workers in their 30s getting plastic surgery to conceal their age make good headlines,” the pollsters said, “ we don’t need to look to such extremes to find evidence of the problem; It’s there in the cliched, but widespread, perception that employees need to be young to have a good grasp of the latest technology. And it’s there in startup cultures that push for long hours and low pay, which are hardly friendly to older workers with families. And as firms battle to attract young talent with ever more extravagant perks, they can unintentionally create an environment and culture that excludes older workers.”
In fact, 29% of survey respondents say that the average employee age at their tech company is between 31 and 35. Millennials, yes—albeit at the older end of that demographic. A further 17% say that the average age of company employees is between 20 and 30.
By contrast, 27% of respondents say that the average age of employees at their company is 36-40 years old, making them members of the younger end of Generation X. The over-40s (Gen X and Boomers, alike) have to share the remaining 26%.
In other words, close to half of employees (46%) are Millennials. And yet, only 23% of survey respondents think that this demographic is over-represented at their workplaces. By contrast, under one-fifth (18%) of respondents believe that Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) are under-represented at their company.
The researchers note that, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicting that 25% of workers should be 55 and over by 2019, it’s clear that these numbers don’t reflect the diversity of the population when it comes to age.
In fact, not only do employees witness an imbalance in age representation, but it is also causing anxiety among some workers.The recent survey found that close to half of respondents (43%) worry about losing their jobs because of their age. Even more troubling, nearly one-fifth (18%) say they worry about it “all the time.”
More than one-third of workers surveyed (36%) report experiencing at least one instance during which they weren’t taken seriously by colleagues and managers due to age.
And yet, most respondents (78%) still consider older tech workers (those aged 40+) to be highly qualified, and over 83% state that these workers have good experience and can share wisdom.
The solution for Baby Boomers is not an easy one: The study found more Boomers showing interest in cities such as Minneapolis (home to 3M) and Durham, North Carolina, which don’t appear on the top ten list for Gen X or Millennials.
Research contact: Raj Mukherjee @rajatism