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Achieving age diversity in Silicon Valley: an opinion piece from someone who works there

by on October 20, 2015

We’ve blogged a number of times on age at work issues (commonly, the absence of older workers) in Silicon Valley. The US location moniker stands in however for global IT and high tech industries including in the UK, where similar issues are reported.

On the Backchannel website, View at this opinion piece highlights the challenges facing older workers in this industry and asks how age diversity can be achieved.

One of the interesting observations is around the limited diversity data released by tech companies with regard to age and the reported average ages at some of the high profile organizations in this field. Apparently ‘as of last year, the average age at Google was 30; at Facebook, 28; LinkedIn, 29, and Apple, 31. In comparison, the average age in more traditional tech industries like data processing or web publishing was almost 10 years higher than Silicon Valley/Internet firms.’

The author of the piece, Steven Levy, argues that techniques by older workers to try and outwit this kind of ageism (e.g. by trying – even through plastic surgery or Botox – to look younger) would cause an outcry if the same was being done in respect of a different protected characteristic such as gender or ethnicity rather than age.

Lots of reader comments on this piece, many of which share the central premise about there being an ageist culture in the high tech industry and offer a variety of reasons as to why this might be. Not so many offering solutions, though…

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