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Age discrimination? I don't get it  RSS feed

 
Mark Herschberg
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I'm currently hiring and frankly I don't understand the trouble older people are having. Yes, we're a startup with most people under 25. However, I need to find people who have been around the block. From the resumes I'm seeing, they're correlating to older workers.
--Mark
 
shay Aluko
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Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
I'm currently hiring and frankly I don't understand the trouble older people are having. Yes, we're a startup with most people under 25. However, I need to find people who have been around the block. From the resumes I'm seeing, they're correlating to older workers.
--Mark
What is your definition of old, mid-thirties?,mid-forties?, and what are you offering in terms of pay ?, job-security etc?...most older worker with a mortgage to pay etc will not usually take a chance with startup unless its for some ownership stake--maybe that's why you are getting 25 year olds
 
Mark Herschberg
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Well, here I'm defining it as 30+, defined as the age at which I've heard others complain and I say this with my 30th birthday just over a month away).
I'm not commenting on what types of resumes I'm getting, that's a factor of how this company has gone about looking for candidates (which to date is Craig's List and a third rate recruiting agency). I'm commenting on the fact I'm not seeing these young kids as a replacement for most "older" experienced workers.
--Mark
 
Matt Cao
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Hi,
30+ is still young. I thought old in the IT industry is around 40ish.
Regards,
MCao
 
HS Thomas
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Older people may not want to work for squat pay.
Young people don't want to work too hard generally. Not when there's life to be lived to the full. I did work with a twenty year old who wanted to play golf (climbing ladders ) but we soon sorted that out and threw him into the fray. He was too serious for words.

One thing, someone tried to convince him that his lack of height severely
limited his prospects for advancement, anyway. Told to him by someone who was an inch taller.
regards
 
Al Newman
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Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:
Well, here I'm defining it as 30+, defined as the age at which I've heard others complain and I say this with my 30th birthday just over a month away).
I'm not commenting on what types of resumes I'm getting, that's a factor of how this company has gone about looking for candidates (which to date is Craig's List and a third rate recruiting agency). I'm commenting on the fact I'm not seeing these young kids as a replacement for most "older" experienced workers.
--Mark

Mark, you've been around the block a few times yourself, right? In my experience many managers aren't like you. Especially at the higher levels. To them a programmer is a programmer is a programmer. You can get the kids for less, and their skills are "up to date". This means that they have Java. Real full life-cycle and software engineering skills? What dat?
I don't know whether younger or older people are more productive, but I'm inclined to see well-chosen experienced (ie older) people as a bargain.
 
D. Rose
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I think people in 30's ( who have jobs)are just holding on to their current jobs. They do not wish to hop in such uncertain times and that too into a startup!
For those who do not have jobs, may be your job description is not interesting enough!
 
Al Newman
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I'm not reading this the way that the rest of you are. Mark isn't complaining that he can't get older workers, he's saying that the experienced people he's seeing are older. True, Mark?
 
Arjun Shastry
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If one is of age 25 and other 45 and both are 'uptodate',good in communication,leadership skills etc etc to same level and both qualify for the company's requirement and both are ready for an amount acceptable to company, to whom will you hire(without tossing a coin)?
[ November 10, 2003: Message edited by: Capablanca Kepler ]
[ November 10, 2003: Message edited by: Capablanca Kepler ]
 
Al Newman
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I'd expect more from the older person, Capablanca. If the two were strictly equal that would reflect poorly upon the older one.
 
HS Thomas
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I thought it was illegal to be ageist when recruiting candidates ?
Within limits.If a team is all below age 30 it may not be appropriate to
have a much older person in it unless he/she has some managerial duties.
For large systems, don't expect teams of all 30ish year olds to work properly. There *has* to be a power structure in place with the relevant skills. IMHO. And if your system is small it's bound to disappear or be eaten up sometime. Growth is key to sustaining systems. Sometimes you need to prune bits off to survive.
regards
[ November 10, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Mark Herschberg
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Originally posted by Alfred Neumann:
I'm not reading this the way that the rest of you are. Mark isn't complaining that he can't get older workers, he's saying that the experienced people he's seeing are older. True, Mark?

Yes! Thank you. That's exactly the point I'm trying to make.

Originally posted by Capablanca Kepler:
If one is of age 25 and other 45 and both are 'uptodate',good in communication,leadership skills etc etc to same level and both qualify for the company's requirement and both are ready for an amount acceptable to company, to whom will you hire(without tossing a coin)?

As noted by others, two otherwise equal candidates who differ only in age will require a coin flip. I will not choose one over the other based on age.
--Mark
 
Rufus BugleWeed
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I will not choose one over the other based on age.

No usually one rationalizes it as - I think the younger guy will fit in better with the team.
The young manager has misgivings about hiring some one older than himself too.
 
HS Thomas
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No one has mentioned Knowledge Management as yet!

Assuming the system that is being replaced is considered good and workable , some of that knowledge has to be transfered. Sorry I can't see someone staight from University, even with a Phd, being able to carry something of this scale. There has to be some transfer of knowledge from old sytem to new and from old practitioners to new..
Most older people I know have been watching dot coms crash and following the more successful ones, from a business stand-point as well as a technical stand-point. Some have even taught themselves Java. Heck I know a doctor close to retirement who has taught himself Java , with a view to understanding the technology that is affecting the medical world in a big way. )I haven't been brave enough to compare notes )
Most registrars are getting comfortable with using new technology just as a side thing to what they do on a normal day to day basis. It does affect what they are doing ; they can be sued legally if things go wrong.
Luckily, they don't have to contend with the IT manager.....
regards
[ November 11, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Tony Collins
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I can't beleive 30+ is old. If you went to university you'd be less than 10 years into your career. The retirement age is 65.
Tony
 
Al Newman
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Originally posted by HS Thomas:
No one has mentioned Knowledge Management as yet!

Assuming the system that is being replaced is considered good and workable , some of that knowledge has to be transfered. Sorry I can't see someone staight from University, even with a Phd, being able to carry something of this scale. There has to be some transfer of knowledge from old sytem to new and from old practitioners to new..

Not necessarily. Consider the failure rate on project, particularly large projects. Some of that surely due to 'downsizing' the knowledge out of the organization.
I'm working on a replacement system for an old mainframe tape-based thing which they stopped active development on at least a decade ago. There no longer exists an IT department in the sense we think of it. It's all subcontracted....
 
Tony Collins
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Should we all be thinking about second careers then ?
Teaching or Civil service work, those jobs can never be outsourced.
Tony
 
HS Thomas
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Originally posted by Alfred Neumann :
There no longer exists an IT department in the sense we think of it. It's all subcontracted....

Even if IT is sub contracted there must be a central think-tank co-ordinating all the operations. I think you probably mean that IT may become a service utility.
For instance : keeping names and addresses , why not let Thompsons handle that for zillion businesses and keep it up to date at the same time. We spent 6 months to 1 year handling addresses for a client and kept thinking this is going to be so redundant, soon.
But the knowledge on how those addresses should be used within the company remains within the Company's IT operations. They may actually sub-contract the actual printing of statements or online invoicing , or even the application of tax rules. There must be expertise in the company who understands how it all hangs together and whether operations are proceeding as it should and also be able to consider alternatives. IT people help here enormously - it is not just a business function.
regards
[ November 11, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Al Newman
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Originally posted by Tony Collins:
Should we all be thinking about second careers then ?
Teaching or Civil service work, those jobs can never be outsourced.
Tony

How so? Politically perhaps, but surely not functionally....
Teaching can be done remotely as the Open University and University of Phoenix surely show. Civil Service work? Such as giving out forms & accepting and entering data from forms into a computer system? Onky until one puts all of it on the web (and puts public access terminals into public buildings).....
 
Tony Collins
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You can't remotely teach a kid, though I agree remote teaching is very good for higher education.
Tony
 
Alenka Shtykel
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Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

As noted by others, two otherwise equal candidates who differ only in age will require a coin flip. I will not choose one over the other based on age.
--Mark

I was just wondering, have you ever faced a situation where you couldn't choose between two candidates and you flipped a coin to decide who will get the job?
 
Tim Holloway
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Originally posted by Tony Collins:
You can't remotely teach a kid, though I agree remote teaching is very good for higher education.
Tony

Wrong. They've been doing it for decades in remote locales like the Australian Outback and Northern Canada. Using ham radio, satellite, and most recently the Internet.
On the main topic:
There's actually 2 types of age discrimination that came into play in IT - the generic type and the "dot-com" type.
The dot-com type was sort of bragging rights for bosses. Get kids to have no social life, work long hours for little pay in exchange for pizza, caffeinated beverages, nerf toys, take-your-dog-to-work and (of course) stock options. When the dot-com era imploded, this sort of age discrimination mostly went with it (although I experienced a milder form of this in the late '80s). This is the "never-hire-over-30" form.
The more general form of age discrimination kicks in in the 40's 50's and up where the rationale is higher insurance and salary requirements. There's probably a few PHBs living in a hole somewhere that still think that older=sicker=less time at work even today, but that's been pretty well disproven. Because, barring implosions like we've seen over the last 2-3 years, salary does tend upwards with age, this is a much more type of discrimination to fight, since all the employer has to say is "holding down costs" and pretty much get off free. This kind oa ge discrimination is very hard to prove except in cases where some exec shoots off his big mouth in a public place or the company's big enough that meaningful statistical analysis can be done.
 
Mark Herschberg
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Originally posted by Y. Shtykel:

I was just wondering, have you ever faced a situation where you couldn't choose between two candidates and you flipped a coin to decide who will get the job?

Never. No two people are ever that similar. :-p
--Mark
 
Alenka Shtykel
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Originally posted by Mark Herschberg:

Never. No two people are ever that similar. :-p
--Mark

heh that's good It would be tough to having to make such choice.
 
Matt Cao
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Originally posted by Tony Collins:
I can't beleive 30+ is old. If you went to university you'd be less than 10 years into your career. The retirement age is 65.
Tony

Hi Tony,
I can not speak for everyone. But in my upbringing, career starts in the last 2 years of high school and retirement starts when I am financially afford, no age limitation. Am I a hippy psychedelic culture?
Regards,
MCao
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
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