The tech industry struggles with pervasive ageism in hiring, but older and younger workers also tend to seek different jobs in the field, according to a Wednesday report from job search site Indeed.
Millennials are now the largest generation in the US labor force, and tend to be more interested in tech jobs than their older counterparts, Indeed found in a previous report. But negative stereotypes about older adults and the drive to keep salary costs down leads many companies to overlook older tech workers whose experience would greatly benefit the bottom line, experts say.
Indeed examined its job seeker activity and the content of most-clicked tech postings to determine which tech roles younger and older workers tend to gravitate toward. It drew the line between younger and older workers at age 40, near the cutoff between Millennials and Gen X workers, and also the point when workers begin to receive government protections based on age.
SEE: IT jobs 2018: Hiring priorities, growth areas, and strategies to fill open roles (Tech Pro Research)
"While much of the discussion around tech revolves around younger workers, our research shows that older tech workers stand out because of the important managerial experience they provide," Daniel Culbertson, economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab, wrote in a blog post detailing the findings.
The roles most distinct to older workers tended to require more years of experience or managerial responsibility, rather than those featuring significant programming responsibilities, the report found. Older workers were also more likely to seek jobs in information technology than their younger counterparts.
Here are the top 10 most distinct tech jobs for job seekers age 40-64.
- Vice president of information technology
- Director of information technology
- Chief engineer
- Director of security
- Director of product management
- Director of quality assurance
- IT manager
- IT project manager
- Lead architect
- IT architect
Several tech jobs receive similar interest levels from each age cohort, Indeed found. These include higher-skilled jobs such as software engineer, business analyst, and data analyst, as well as some lower-skilled roles such as technical support, help desk analyst, and IT support.
The skills most likely to appear in job postings clicked by the different age cohorts also shed light on what abilities each can bring to the workforce, the report found. Younger job seekers were most likely to look at jobs that required experience with specific programming languages, tools, or libraries, including machine learning, Node.js, Git, Angular JS, CSS, and C or C++. Older workers were more drawn to job postings requiring managerial skills, including coaching, budgeting, project management, and technical support.
To combat stereotypes and land a new tech job, older adults must explicitly state their technology skills on their resumes and cover letters, Tracy L. Mitzner, a senior research scientist in the Center for Assistive Tech and Environmental Access at the Georgia Institute of Technology, told TechRepublic. They should also highlight the knowledge and skills they have acquired over time to show their added value, she said.
Indeed's findings suggest that younger workers' skill sets will need to change as they age, Culbertson wrote.
"As older workers leave the labor force, younger tech workers will need to adapt their skills to step into the more senior leadership occupations left vacant," Culbertson wrote in the post. "This will make room for the generation after Millennials. It will be fascinating to see what skill sets this emerging generation will bring to the labor force and what valuable contributions they will make to the tech world."
Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
- Tech job seekers age 40-64 are most likely to look for jobs with more years of experience or managerial responsibility, while those age 21-39 are more likely to seek those that require experience with specific programming languages, tools, or libraries. — Indeed, 2018
- The top jobs that workers over age 40 are likely to show interest in are vice president of information technology, director of information technology, and chief engineer. — Indeed, 2018
- How to succeed as a new IT manager (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- How to make sure your company isn't discriminating against older workers: 7 tips (TechRepublic)
- What happens when IT companies are allowed to be ageist? This (ZDNet)
- Workplace by Facebook: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- Half of all baby boomers intend to keep working past age 65 (ZDNet)
- Why a multi-generational team is key to business success (TechRepublic)
Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.