Millennials and Baby Boomers bring different but equally necessary skills to the tech industry—but they are applying to different types of jobs, according to new research from job search site Indeed.
While many tech companies have put an increased emphasis on diversity, age is an important but often forgotten part of the equation, said Raj Mukherjee, senior vice president of product at Indeed. A study from the University of Chicago found that approaches to innovation differ by age, and that older people tend to do better solving thorny, complicated problems, due to the deeper levels of understanding they have acquired over the course of their careers. And people over age 40 accounted for 45% of Nobel Prize winners in the past 100 years.
Despite performance increasing with age, in the tech industry, GenXers are hired 33% less than their workforce representation, and Baby Boomers are hired 60% less, according to a recent report from Visier. Meanwhile, Millennials are hired 50% more in tech.
In an Indeed survey of tech workers, 43% of respondents said they worry about losing their job because of their age. And more than one-third of workers surveyed reported experiencing at least one instance during which they felt they weren't taken seriously by colleagues and managers due to age.
SEE: How CXOs can develop a diverse workforce (Tech Pro Research)
Still, Baby Boomers and Millennials alike continue seeking coveted jobs in the industry. Here are the top 10 jobs Baby Boomers are more likely to click on than Millennials:
1. Principal software engineer (3x more likely to click than Millennials)
2. Storage engineer (3x more likely to click)
3. Telecommunications engineer (3x more likely to click)
4. Engineering project manager (2x more likely to click)
5. IT project manager (2x more likely to click)
6. Voice engineer (2x more likely to click)
7. Technical sales engineer (2x more likely to click)
8. Engineering lead (2x more likely to click)
9. OSP engineer (2x more likely to click)
10. Computer operator (2x more likely to click)
In comparison, here are the top 10 jobs Millennials are more likely to click on than Baby Boomers:
1. Front end developer (5x more likely to click than Baby Boomers)
2. Android developer (5x more likely)
3. Game tester (5x more likely)
4. Web developer (5x more likely)
5. Java developer (4x more likely)
6. Full stack developer (4x more likely)
7. Python developer (4x more likely)
8. iOS developer (4x more likely)
9. Data scientist (4x more likely)
10. UX researcher (3x more likely)
Clearly, Millennials tend to be more drawn to developer positions, while Baby Boomers tend to seek engineering and project management roles.
"Developer jobs are likely more appealing to Millennials because they grew up with the technology, and have entered the workforce during the tech boom," Mukherjee told TechRepublic. "Baby Boomers on the other hand have a lot more general work and management experience, which could lead to their interest in project management roles."
It is well documented that having a diverse workforce—one that is inclusive of different ages, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, etc.—has a positive influence on companies, Mukherjee said. "Having employees with a wide range of backgrounds, educational levels, and ages brings a more comprehensive set of knowledge and perspective that is crucial when creating products or solutions for diverse audiences," he added.
For tips to ensure that your company is not discriminating against workers based on age, click here.
- Why a multi-generational team is key to business success (TechRepublic)
- When it comes to jobs, Generation Z may not be the 'tech' generation after all (TechRepublic)
- What happens when IT companies are allowed to be ageist? This (ZDNet)
- Is diversity in tech truly possible? 3 executives share their success stories (TechRepublic)
- Designing the future: Silicon Valley struggles with diversity and inclusivity (ZDNet)
- Does your company need a chief diversity officer? (TechRepublic)
Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.