A new study from tech recruiter CWJobs claims to identify what it calls the ‘staggering level’ of ageism that IT and tech workers face at work. From seemingly innocuous comments to being overlooked for promotion in favour of younger colleagues, a worrying number of the UK’s tech-sector employees are facing daily hurdles to prove they’re not yet a career ‘dinosaur’.
Young faces of start-up founders like Mark Zuckerberg and other “tech bros” have become the symbol and stereotypical image that tends to represent the tech industry. And the trickle-down effect of that has been an automatic if not subconscious conflation between youth and talent in tech.
And while grad schemes have an important role to play, creating entry-level jobs or being attractive to a younger workforce – in any organisation, where there’s a lack of diversity there’s a breeding ground for prejudices to seep in.
CWJobs recently sent out a survey to 2,000 UK workers, as well as an additional 250 people working in tech and IT who have experienced ageism, to explore the extent to which workers experienced ageism for being older.
Over a third (41%) of IT and tech-sector workers said they have encountered age discrimination in the workplace, whereas only 27% across other UK industries had experienced old ageism.
But what’s even more revealing is that while, on average, across the wider workforce, the people surveyed said they first started to experience ageism at work at an average age of 41 – meanwhile IT and tech workers say they first experienced this at an average age of 29.
The survey reveals that those employed in IT and tech are venerable to start experiencing age discrimination over a decade earlier than the national industry average. On average, UK IT and Tech sector employees start experiencing ageism at the age of twenty-nine and are prematurely considered ‘too old’ for their industry by thirty-eight. 36 percent of tech workers told CWJobs that someone has implied their career is likely to be negatively impacted by their increasing age.