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Technology and all sectors of technology in the workforce are growing at a rapid pace.  In fact, according to a recent research article, the technology industry employs nearly 11.5 million workers – and that number is growing. The success of the technology industry revolves around constantly evolving innovations that improve current processes, devices, and systems.


Unfortunately, the quickly evolving world of the technology industry has created a vacuum in which older employees seem to be left behind.  Unlike other industries where the age of employees is diverse and elder generations hold a majority of management positions, technology is dominated by a majority of millennials and Gen Xers.  And, although the younger generations who hold leadership roles and top titles in the technology seem to be thriving, hiring managers and industry experts have started to question whether or not the lack of age diversity is hurting companies.


According to Business Insider, Baby Boomers make up only 12% of the technology industry (compared to 27% in other industries) and the average age of a technology manager is 42 (vs. 47 in other industries).  These statistics are not surprising when one considers the fact that younger generations have been born into technology and educated through it. They are surprising however when one considers the fact that generally, employees get better at their job the longer they are in it and with age.  And, although the technology industry is not an exception to that rule, current statistics show that age is not a prevalent factor for hiring or promotion in technology jobs.


As it turns out, ageism not only exists in corporate technology environments but in the start-up world as well.  According to a survey of US Startup Founders, age bias is the most prevalent bias in the startup industry even above gender and race.  Likewise, many investors claim that the age of the individual starting the company plays a role in their decision whether or not to invest in a company.  And, when they refer to age, they are not referring to startup founders in their 60s-80s. They are referring to individuals as young as 36.


This type of age discrimination in the startup world not only limits opportunities for older professionals looking to create something for themselves, it also limits opportunities for the technology world.  Older individuals who are looking to start technology companies likely have been in the industry for many years and have a lot of knowledge and innovation they could use to benefit a new company. But, because of their age, the expertise of these older individuals is being stifled and, as a result, many (could be) great companies go unfounded.


It is inevitable that the workforce is going to age.  People naturally get older, and although there are constantly younger employees joining the workforce, older employees still require and deserve a space to share their talents and skills.  Harvard Business Review suggests that the workforce can combat the epidemic of degrading older technology employees by valuing wisdom more than youth.  This means companies need to recognize the skills and knowledge older employees have to share and teach to younger employees and give them the opportunity to do so.  Furthermore, companies should realize that just because their older employees do not automatically possess current skills and knowledge regarding the latest technologies does not mean they are not willing to learn. After all, even the youngest most knowledgeable technology employees will eventually age and require continuing education as well.


As far as startups are concerned, investors could also adopt this frame of mind in order to improve the future of the industry.  Instead of immediately dismissing older founders on the basis of age, they could consider the unique perspective and knowledge they have to offer.  Likewise, investors should consider that often times, older professionals are more reliable, take less sick days, and are more committed to a position than their younger counterparts.  


According to a recent article on, hiring managers can also play a role in reducing the prevalence of ageism in the technology industry as well.  Instead of going into an interview with an assumption of what the employee has to offer, hiring managers should go in prepared to ask questions that will educate them on the ability of the employee.  Yes, a younger employee might possess specific skills on paper that look good for the company, but perhaps they only intend to stay in the position until they can propel themselves on to the next big thing.  An older employee, however, might be looking for a position where they can stay long-term and utilize their skills to provide innovation and leadership.



If you are a hiring manager or executive for a technology company, it is likely time to take a step back and review your own practices in order to eliminate ageism within your company. If you don’t, unrecognized biases and prejudices might continue to prevent you from finding the best employees for open positions.  Below are a few suggestions you can use to evaluate your current practices.





By reviewing the current average age of your employees you might be able to identify different departments where age discrimination is taking place. Once identified, you can take measures to study why that is taking place.




If you talk to older employees looking for ways to improve their work environment you might be able to identify places where ageism is relevant that you were not even aware of.




When all else fails, removing indicators of age from resumes before you review them eliminates the opportunity for you to discriminate potential employees because of their age and bring in employees for interviews based purely on their skills and abilities.


Now that you understand the prevalence of ageism in the technology industry you should be able to answer whether or not it is hurting your company. And, if it is, you can begin the process of eliminating it.