How Widespread is Age Discrimination in IT. The Bare Facts

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Age Discrimination in IT

Is there Age Discrimination in IT? There appears to be both in he permanent employee market and the IT Contractor market.

Professor Norman Matlock is an expert in the field of the IT labour market, and has debunked the surveys which have purported to show that there was a desperate IT shortage in the USA.

Here he looks to see if the facts and figures bear out the idea that there is age discrimination (illegal in the USA) in the IT industry.

Question: How widespread is age discrimination in the IT Labour Market?

Age discrimination is rampant in this field, starting even as young as 35. Though industry lobbyists like to dismiss this as being supported only by anecdotal evidence, the fact is that there is a plethora of hard data which show that older programmers and engineers do face major difficulties in finding programming and engineering jobs, such as:

1. A study at American University found that on average it takes three more weeks for a laid-off programmer or engineer to find a job for each year of age.

2. An Information Week survey of hiring managers found that only 2% of them would prefer to hire an applicant with more than 10 years of experience.

3. A Network World survey of hiring managers found that the younger the manager, the less likely he/she would be to hire an older programmer.

Still Employed as Programmers

4. Twenty years after graduation from college, only 19% of computer science majors are still employed as programmers. This compares, for instance, to a figure of 57% of civil engineering majors who are still working as civil engineers 20 years after leaving school.

5. Even a National Research Council committee, heavily biased in favor of industry, found that:

– Older programmers are more likely to be laid off than the younger ones.
– The length of time to become re-employed after a layoff is longer for older programmers than for younger ones.
– Among laid-off programmers that get rehired, the older ones on average take a cut in pay, whereas the younger ones on average actually get a raise.

Senior Programmer Title

6. Most employers define a Senior Programmer title to mean just three to five years of experience.

The employers use the skills issue as a pretext for shunning the older programmers, saying, “Sorry, we cannot hire you, since you do not have the new software skills.”

So, in conclusion, age discrimination in IT appears to be widespread.

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