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March 21, 2017
11 Ways to Reduce Ageism Bias in Tech Hiring
March 21, 2017
March 21, 2017
The other day, I was reading a ‘Dear Abby’ type blog that focused on ageism in hiring, and I thought that topic specifically geared toward the tech industry would be interesting to explore.Recently, I’ve written a lot about how you can earn skill specific micro certifications and display those skills in a meaningful way on a resume, in an online portfolio, and in-person. As with any ‘advice’ geared post, one always runs the risk of getting hit with the ‘easier said than done’ argument.This may be the case, with ageism being one of only many factors working against us all in the job market. So again, I’ll look to address some ways we can tackle this issue head-on and increase the chances of landing that ‘dream job,’ as I always say.
Recognize the BiasBefore we dive-in, I will give full- disclosure that I am a twenty something, so I will try to approach the topic the least bias that I can.It seems to me that both younger and older hires alike face their fair share of challenges in the job market; millennials having too little experience, while baby boomers having ‘too much.’ (Is there such thing as too much experience?)But there’s no denying the IT industry favors the young. That is one point I will whole-heartedly agree with, especially after doing my research.A controversial Mark Zuckerberg once asserted that, “young people are smarter.” Sounds like a discrimination lawsuit waiting to happen.Unfortunately, this may just have set the tone for ageism in Silicon Valley.According to PayScale, Inc., the median age of workers at Facebook in 2014 was 29, at Amazon and Google, it’s 30. The median age of all American workers, according to the Labor Department, is 42.In the blog post I previously referenced, the author made a valid point. They said the way we address this issue is adopting a sense of understanding from both hiring managers and employees. But, even for hiring managers who are not so understanding, there’s a lesson to be learned.“At the end of the day, a company that won't even look your way because of your age is not a place you want to be,” read the blog. “When experience is viewed as a liability instead of a benefit, it's not a job you'll love or a place where you will succeed. Finding companies and roles that value employees for their skill sets is key to finding professional happiness.”
Focus on your SkillsStill, there are certain things you can do to set the tone to ensure that skills and personality, rather than age, are the focus of your candidacy. (Especially because we know not every hiring manager is perfect.)
- Learn to brag.
- Get hands-on.
- Demonstrate leadership.
- Have a voice.
- Update your skills.
- Stay current.
- Show your passion.
- Expand your network.
- Be willing to have tough conversations, if needed.
- Don’t age yourself.
- Remember how far you’ve come.
Be ConfidentStill having doubts? A recent Dropbox survey of more than 4,000 IT workers found that people over age 55 are actually less likely than their younger colleagues to find using technology in the workplace stressful.Be confident in what you know and take the initiative to work on areas where you may be lacking. With these tips, and the right company values, there’s no boundaries on where you can take your career, at any age.Comment below and share your experiences and/or additional tips!Olivia Lynch (@Cybrary_Olivia) is the Marketing Manager at Cybrary. Like many of you, she is just getting her toes wet in the field of cyber security. A firm believer that the pen is mightier than the sword, Olivia considers corny puns and an honest voice essential to any worthwhile blog.
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