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DATE 2017-08-01

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MESSAGE
DATE 2017-08-03
FROM Ruben Safir
SUBJECT Subject: [Learn] age discrimination in IT
From learn-bounces-at-nylxs.com Thu Aug 3 18:03:44 2017
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https://www.ft.com/content/d54b6fb4-624c-11e7-91a7-502f7ee26895



Bob Crum finally bailed out of the tech industry last year, after four
decades working for Silicon Valley companies such as Hewlett-Packard,
Sun Microsystems and Cisco. When his contract with Cisco ended, he tried
to find a job elsewhere, but quickly discovered that, aged 62, his
=E2=80=9Crichness of experience=E2=80=9D was seen as a hindrance, not a hel=
p, in today=E2=80=99s
tech industry.

=E2=80=9CI was told =E2=80=98we decided to give this job to someone earlier=
in their
career, your experience was a long time ago=E2=80=99. Those were hurtful th=
ings
to say to someone who was eminently qualified,=E2=80=9D he says.

=E2=80=9CAfter several months trying to get back into the tech world, I just
threw up my hands and mentally told myself, I=E2=80=99m retired from high-t=
ech
and will move on to bigger and better things.=E2=80=9D

Mr Crum is now working for a non-profit and preparing to open a craft
brewery. But he still resents the way he was treated by an industry
obsessed with youth =E2=80=94 and apparently immune to age discrimination l=
aws.

When tech workers reach the grand old age of 45, they see the number of
jobs they are offered drop, according to research by Hired, the tech
recruitment platform. Salaries begin to fall aged 45, with candidates in
their fifties and sixties asking for the same pay as millennials with
just two years=E2=80=99 experience.

Laurie McCann, a senior attorney with the AARP, which advocates for
older people=E2=80=99s rights in the US, says ageism in the tech industry i=
s a
=E2=80=9Cvery big problem=E2=80=9D. Two-thirds of older tech workers say th=
ey have
witnessed or experienced age discrimination at work, according to a 2013
survey by the organisation.

=E2=80=9CPeople brag about how young the average age of their workforce is =
and
say downright derogatory things to older people, almost like they are
above the law,=E2=80=9D she says. Silicon Valley has begun to face up to its
gender and ethnic diversity issues, after scandals such as sexual
harassment cases at Uber that contributed to the chief executive, Travis
Kalanick, stepping aside in June.

But while many large tech companies publish reports on the proportion of
their workforce that are women or minorities, hoping it will push them
to improve their figures, they do not track age. Dan Lyons, who wrote a
book, Disrupted, about his experience working at start-up HubSpot, says
tech companies need to recognise the value of a =E2=80=9Cblended
multi-generational workforce=E2=80=9D and show how many older workers they
employ in their diversity reports.

When he joined the start-up, which boasted its average age was 26, he
was 52 and surprised by the =E2=80=9Cweird stereotypes=E2=80=9D some of his=
younger
colleagues seemed to have of older people. One called him grandpa. =E2=80=
=9CI
had this really big blog, I was internet famous, I had developed a TV
show and worked in Hollywood, and they were like, =E2=80=98wow, you can use
Twitter?=E2=80=99=E2=80=9D he recalls.

Experts have clear advice for tech companies looking to show they
welcome older employees =E2=80=94 or avoid future age discrimination lawsui=
ts.

Recruiters should end the practice of specifying the years when a
candidate should have graduated from college or the need for a
university email address, in effect making it clear they only expect to
hire younger people. Seeking =E2=80=9Cdigital natives=E2=80=9D in job ads is
problematic, because it implies someone grew up with the internet.

Once in the door, companies should retrain older staff as new coding
languages emerge, educate them to recognise =E2=80=9Cunconscious bias=E2=80=
=9D against
older people, and host social activities that everyone feels welcome to
participate in.

When Mr Lyons was at HubSpot, he felt he was walking a tightrope with
his clothes. =E2=80=9CYou want to look casual, but you don=E2=80=99t want t=
o look like a
50-year-old guy trying to dress like a 20-year-old,=E2=80=9D he says.

He also urges older job hunters to delete everything on their resume
before 2000, to avoid getting caught in automated filters that ignore
applicants with that much experience.

At work, he believes older employees should avoid sounding
=E2=80=9Csanctimonious=E2=80=9D and instead be humble and learn younger emp=
loyees=E2=80=99
habits and favourite acronyms, such as DRI (directly responsible
individual).

Chip Conley, a strategic adviser at Airbnb, was 52 when he was
approached for the job =E2=80=94 despite never having used the accommodatio=
n app.

Having been chief executive of his own hotel chain for 24 years, he
developed a role as a =E2=80=9CModern Elder=E2=80=9D, serving as both mento=
r and intern.

=E2=80=9CMy best tactic was to reconceive my bewilderment as curiosity and =
give
free rein to it,=E2=80=9D he wrote in the Harvard Business Review.

Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against
Ageism, says one of the reasons few age discrimination lawsuits are
brought is people are reluctant to identify themselves as older.

=E2=80=9CAge discrimination is often the first kind of discrimination that =
white
men encounter in the workplace,=E2=80=9D she says. =E2=80=9CI=E2=80=99m rea=
lly looking forward
to those guys getting radicalised and joining the movement.=E2=80=9D
=E2=80=98Tech blogs fawn over 24-year-olds=E2=80=99

When Ken Goldsholl, a serial entrepreneur, thought his company was not
getting the press attention it deserved, he considered pretending his
24-year-old son was behind the start-up. =E2=80=9CTech blogs fawn over a co=
mpany
started by 24-year-olds,=E2=80=9D he says.

Mr Goldsholl, 60, self-funds his micropayment start-up, Transact.io,
because he believes venture capitalists avoid backing founders of his age.
Letter in response to this article:

Tech companies must embrace diversity, or fail / From Susan Bowen,
Chair, Women in Tech Council, Tech UK

-- =

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  1. 2017-08-03 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Learn] age discrimination in IT
  2. 2017-08-04 Ruben Safir <mrbrklyn-at-panix.com> Subject: [Learn] the tip of the precipice.
  3. 2017-08-13 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Learn] computational palaeobiology
  4. 2017-08-13 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Learn] Language theory
  5. 2017-08-15 From: "Yi Qian, IEEE ICC'18 TPC Chair" <noreply-at-comsoc.org> Subject: [Learn] IEEE ICC'18 Tutorial Proposals due 15 September 2017
  6. 2017-08-15 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Learn] P is not equal to NP
  7. 2017-08-15 Ruben Safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Learn] unsupervised-learning
  8. 2017-08-16 Richard Stallman <rms-at-gnu.org> Re: [Learn] P is not equal to NP
  9. 2017-08-26 ruben safir <ruben-at-mrbrklyn.com> Subject: [Learn] Fwd: quaternion graphics in C or C-style C++?

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