Men and women in tech struggle together to land work after 40

2017-09-27 11:15 - Jeff Green
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Michigan - By at least one metric, men and women in technology are treated the same: As they get older, they struggle to get hired in equal measures.

Regardless of gender, people aged 52 to 70 are 60% less likely to be hired for a tech job than their participation in the workforce would suggest, according to new research from Visier, a Vancouver-based human resource analytics software company. 

Slightly younger workers, between 34 and 51, are 33 percent less likely, according to the data.

“It seems that ageism is at the top of the pile,” said Dave Weisbeck, chief operating officer at Visier. Complaints about age discrimination at the largest tech companies outnumber those for gender or race, he said.

Large tech companies are already fighting the perception that their decks are stacked in favor of men in their 20s. Alphabet’s Google is facing a class-action lawsuit that alleges it systematically pays men more than women.

Microsoft and Twitter were both sued in 2015 by female engineers who claimed men are favoured for advancement. Google, HP, and Tesla are among companies accused of ageism in hiring and firing decisions in recent years. The HP and Tesla cases are going to arbitration and the other cases are pending.

The data showed that older workers in tech firms find more success than employees over 40 in other industries, where performance ratings tend to decline after 40, he said.

The study drew from a database of 330 000 US-based workers at 43 large companies, with 63 000 workers and 13 companies in tech. The research showed that when older workers are hired, they tend be paid and otherwise treated fairly.

"In tech you want these people who are willing to go to join a startup, put in incredible hours and weekends, and make it happen," Weisbeck said. "There’s a bias that says, those are the younger ones. But there is a balance to be obtained through wisdom and experience."

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Read more about: equality  |  gender equality  |  tech