Just to be clear: Silicon Valley is not Logan’s Run. Unlike in the spooky ’70s thriller, techies don’t get hunted down and killed when they become what are called in the Valley “olds.”
They just get shut down by a rising tide of Millennials.
That’s the conclusion of a just-released report by human resources consultancy Visier.
“Systemic ageism exists in tech hiring practices,” Visier reported.
Generation Xers are being hired for tech jobs at a rate 33 percent less than their workforce representation, and Baby Boomers 60 percent less, Visier reported.
“Tech companies that design a recruitment strategy around Millennials alone are shortsighted, overlooking the performance and experience that Gen Xers and Baby Boomers bring to the table,” said Visier’s chief strategy officer Dave Weisbeck.
“Balancing a team’s skills and experience is critical for tech leaders, and can make or break a company.”
The tech industry’s composition, according to Visier, supports the conclusions of its research, which it says was “based on an analysis of 330,000 employees from 43 large U.S. enterprises.” The average age in tech is 38, compared to 43 in non-tech industries, Visier reported.
While a tech worker may, in Silicon Valley, be labeled an “old” once they start to show gray hair, stop wearing skinny jeans or, God forbid, have grandchildren, Visier describes aging workers as “Tech Sages.” And paradoxically, the knowledge and skills they’ve developed are valued, according to Visier.
“From age 40 onwards, non-manager workers in tech enter the “Tech Sage Age” and are increasingly likely to receive a top-performer rating as they age, mature, and gain experience, compared to non-tech,” the company reported.
But while they may get gold stars on their HR files, in reality they’re headed for a wall, the report suggested. Although Generation Xers make up 41 percent of talent available to tech firms, that age group makes up only 27 percent of new hires. In non-tech industries, that group makes up 45 percent of available talent but also makes up 35 percent of new hires, according to Visier.
Older workers may be less likely to be hired, but there’s reportedly a silver lining.
“Older tech workers do not take a hit in salary,” according to Visier. “Older tech workers that are newly hired do not — on average — experience a lower wage. Rather, newly hired workers are paid the same average salary as more tenured workers, across all age groups.”
And for companies, employee retention is better among older workers, with Millennials resigning at higher rates than Generation Xers and Boomers.
“The message to employers: hiring more Gen X and Baby Boomer talent will provide more stability in their workforce and reduce turnover costs,” according to Visier, which is located in Vancouver, Canada.
The trend, started by Google, of tech companies publicly reporting on the diversity of their workforces typically does not include age.
About the Author