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Prejudice, cynism in the IT sector? Impossible!

By dotxen ·
Hi Everyone,

My name is Robb and I wrote the topic 'Ageism? Good Idea?'.

I wrote this topic to provoke debate about a very important issue in our industry.

I am 55 years old and many of you will have egg on your faces over that bit of knowledge. I have been in the IT industry for more than 15 years and I am now a sage-like soul who now teaches IT technologies to people who want to work in my industry. One of the questions that they ask me, is "Can I get a job at my age in IT?". Because the majority of my students are military Resettlement folk, they are over 35 (in most cases). I always calm their fears by telling them just how tolerant we IT folk are and how age is a real asset. But, to be truthful, I am not sure that this is correct.

To Test this I made myself 'unemployed' and applied for 100 IT jobs. I wrote out a 'proper' CV/Resume and placed my current photograph on it. I stated my age and my qualifications correctly and I also made sure that any referees I stated would respond. Out of the 100 vacancies that I applied for over a two month period I did not received ANY offers of an interview.

I then changed my age and placed a photo of myself taken when I was 30 years old, on the CV. I sent the CV to around 25 companies (some of the original 100 too!) and have received 12 offers of interview and one direct offer of a job. 3 offers came form three of the original companies that did not respond to my 'truthful' CV.

This was not a scientific piece of research, I know that. But I believe that despite the laws about ageism and so on, in my country (UK) and in the USA, the fact remains that ageism is practiced, if not blatently, then in the minds of many of us.

I was intersted to note the many responses to my original article. May I thank all of those who took the time to respond.

I plan to take this issue further, but right now I have to start to earn a living again.

Does anyone have any vacancies?

Best regards - Happy Trails


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Two years too soon, and wrong country

by stress junkie In reply to Prejudice, cynism in the ...

I didn't read your previous post because using the word "ageism" made it seem too high-brow to interest me.

I was restructured out of my previous job when my employer was bought by a larger business. Since then I had not taken any steps to regain employment. Initially I intended to take a bit of a vacation from the stress, responsibility, and long hours of IT support. I mostly wanted to get away from incompetent managers. As the months turned into years I found that I could not ever forsee a time when I could bear to work in the typical corporate structure, due entirely to the problems of working with incompetent managers. ( They make me really angry ) Thankfully I've always lived well "below my means" and I've got a lot of money in the bank.

I knew that I would love to work for myself. I'm sure that I would be the best IT manager that I've ever met as well as the best IT support tech/engineer/whatever that I've ever worked with. Since I have such a high regard for myself I was looking for a business model to give me an advantage in the consulting market place. I recently figured out a niche that I believe is being completely ignored by the big consulting houses and I've started my own business.

My business plans include growing my business to the point that I will employ IT support engineers in about two years. I've already decided that I will strongly favor people who are over 40 years old when I am looking for employees. ( I am 47 years old. ) I recognise that increased age does not guarantee emotional maturity or a sense of responsibility but I believe that these qualities will be easier to find among mature employees rather than the propeller headed twenty year olds.

Unfortunately for you I do not expect to be hiring for about two years and I live in the United States.

I think that you are correct in thinking that most businesses favor young, inexperienced, and potentially irresponsible employees over older candidates. I think that there are lot of reasons for this. There is no question in my mind that our culture is based on valuing youth. Young people starting out in their career cannot demand the higher wages that an experienced older person can reasonably expect. Young people are generally more healthy than older people so business paid health insurance premiums may be lower for businesses with generally younger employees.

In my opinion the ONLY things that matter regarding employees are quality of workmanship and a deep seated sense of responsibility. I believe that most business school curricula would say that these are not bottom line assets and that a business will save money by sacrificing experience and quality in favor of youth.

Perhaps in twenty years the name "stress junkie" will be revered as the founding father of a new business paradigm placing quality ahead of everything else and of favoring experience and maturity as the characteristics that are most desireable in employment candidates.

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Damn! I was hoping you would take me on!!

by dotxen In reply to Two years too soon, and w ...

Thank you so much for your excellent and thoughtful response. I do aplogise for the 'high-brow' title of my earlier topic.

You are quite right in what you say, and it behoves us all to take note.

However, I am not anti-youth (neither are you, obviously) but I am annoyed and irritated by recruitment companies and there inept attitude toward useful folk of my age.

I hope that many people from recruitment companies will have read our input and learned from it, and stop salivating over twenty-somethings with university degrees (a useless qualification in network systems support, in my view) and start to recruit, or at least give opportunities to the more mature and experienced amongst us.



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You're right.

by stress junkie In reply to Damn! I was hoping you wo ...

I was once twenty-something and I was very reponsible back then so you're right, I'm not completely prejudiced against younger people.

At this point I've just read your "ageism" post. It's pretty funny. I got a few chuckles from reading it.

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Just will not happen

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Damn! I was hoping you wo ...

Recruitment agencies are all about passing meat through the mill not the quality of the product {in their case workers} but the numbers as they get paid to push the sausage machine harder or they don't have a job within a very short time.

So they tend to ignore the older workers as they themselves are young know it all sales-people so they quite naturally think that someone their own age or younger is the easiest work which they are so they place the older workers at the bottom of the heap as it will take them far too long to deal with and then proceed to concentrate on those that they can move quickly and hopefully without any work other than sending them to a place and then hopefully never see them again and get paid for their services.

These people are not the slightest bit interested in fitting work places to people or the other way around as most of them are incapable of understanding the nature of the work in IT and they certainly do not understand the lingo so they just go with the bare minimum experience asked for and then offer nothing else. Most of these recruiters actually think that M$ are responsible for Personal Computers and have absolutely no idea what a mainframe is or anything other than Windows as an OS. Actually come to think about it they most likely do not even know that anyone other than Microsoft actually exists as that would be all that they see on their workstations.

Here in AU things are a bit easier as we just lack the population that we require so the older people are being encouraged to keep working particularly the trades people as we do not have anywhere near enough of them. Currently several places are offering $100.00 AU just to attend an interview and any traveling expenses. If you come from a different area they will also pay your moving costs and set you up in a house just to get you to work for them.

Because we have not trained anywhere enough people recently companies are crying out for experienced trade people and are now importing them in from the Philippines and Indonesia on 3 year work permits. The problem is projected to reach a peek in 2015 when there just might be some people available to fill some of the vacancies that are currently available and about another 20 years to be self sufficient in workers for these places. These are not the unskilled jobs but the highly skilled ones where companies are offering $300.00 AU per week above award just in an attempt to attract workers.

One place that I recently went to had a car on the dock and every day that you showed up for work you where given a raffle ticket in the car which was drawn monthly and this was only to encourage their workers to actually attend work even though they are paying well above award wages to any new comers.

Col ]:)

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AU $100.00 to interview!!!

by stress junkie In reply to Just will not happen

Holy moly. I think that works out to about US $5.42. Such a deal!!

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Well lets see

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to AU $100.00 to interview!! ...

Try looking up currently I believe that $1.00 AU buys about 77 cents US so it will work out a little better than $5.42 US more like $5.96 US.

Really it works out to something like 77.2005 USD
which if I remember correctly is almost enough to leave as a tip at a Mac Donald's for your cheese burger naturally it would have to be more if you ordered a Big Mac.

Col ]:)

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by MWatch In reply to Well lets see

Here is proof that youth can be a real PAIN.

I'm not sure when it started, but I've grown very tired of running into grubby foam cups with TIPS written in crayon. I'm sorry I don't tip someone for putting a burger in a bag, thank you is all ya get.

I'd bet the 100 AU that the first was someone UNDER 18. Given a resposible IT position they would likely saw a slot in the cube and tape a TIPS sign just below.

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by KeithWilliamsATL In reply to Well lets see

Actually if $1.00AU = $0.77US, then $100.00AU=$77.00

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Currency exchange rates . . .

by GentleRF In reply to AU $100.00 to interview!! ...

More like 75 USD at this point.

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Yep, It's The Truth

by dotxen In reply to Just will not happen

Great reply. Totally agree.

Here in the UK we have a massive intake of overseas workers. Many are very very good, such as our Indian friends, but with so many incoming, there are a lot of useless eco-tourists. I can't mention the nationalities or I may get arrested.

Getting back to the point.... I am annoyed that recruitment agencies are not being fair to older, senior, mature, whatever, IT people. The loss to our economy must be in the millions a day in terms of having to train less experienced people amd covering the mistakes that younger folk make, through no real fault other than their inexperience and the lack skill to learn from mistakes.

Our's is an aging nation, more so than the USA and Oz. So we are not in a position to continue this mindless prejudice.


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