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Why Can't Older Tech Workers Get Hired?

In our last blog entry, we examined a story in Information Week about a former Apple Store employee who is suing Apple for age discrimination after being passed over several times for promotion. Instead, the suit alleges Apple Store managers chose people who were less experienced, less qualified, and at least 15 years younger. Apple denies the accusations.

The article reports that age discrimination complaints have become routine in the tech industry. In August, the California Supreme Court allowed an age discrimination lawsuit against Google to proceed. The court upheld an appeals court ruling that a former employee had presented enough evidence that Google fired him because of his age to avoid having his case thrown out. Google says its reasons for firing the man in that case had nothing to do with his age.

An article in TechCrunch by Vivek Wadhwa says that tech jobs in Silicon Valley are dominated by the young. As a software developer or engineer, the older you are, the harder it is to find a job. The TechCrunch article says that hiring managers at tech companies think of older workers as behind the curve on modern technology and harder to train than younger workers. Older workers are also seen as unwilling to put in long hours so they can go home to their families, and overall overpaid.

Meanwhile, a kid fresh out of college is seen as naturally adaptable to the latest technology, and willing to work longer hours for less salary.

Source: Information Week, "Apple Faces Age Discrimination Lawsuit," Thomas Claburn, December 3, 2010