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Ageism in Tech

 

In a technology industry known for its continued innovation and evolution, sometimes older workers get left in the wake. Ageism can be a problem for many companies, but a mix of employees with different experience levels and backgrounds offers businesses the best chance at success – especially in a DevOps era that champions collaboration. There’s no denying the insights a veteran technology professional brings to the table.

The smart business understands the value of experience. Don’t assume older technology candidates are stuck in their ways and unable to learn new things. Look for vitality among older applicants for a chance at hiring a great employee.

In a business environment where many companies suffer from a skills gap and a lack of technical talent, you need to broaden your search criteria to ultimately hire the best.

Focus on an Older Candidate’s Most Recent Experience

When analyzing the résumé of an exceptionally experienced candidate, focus on their most recent responsibilities. Working on COBOL systems two decades ago is nice, but their recent success writing Clojure applications for Cloud-based distributed architectures is more relevant. It illustrates the person’s ability to stay at the forefront of technology innovations while learning new programming languages.

A progression of additional responsibilities over their career, combined with skills in the latest tech, means a potential employee is able to successfully lead and mentor their younger co-workers. Joan Cirillo, president and CEO of Operation A.B.L.E. noted this attribute among older professionals.

“There are many biases that employers hold about job seekers that are 45 and older. They think they’re not quick on a computer, or they can’t learn as quickly, or you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. There’s just a tremendous strength of experience older workers bring. [They’re] wonderful mentors to younger employees, wonderful trainers who take pride in showing people how to do something,’’ said Cirillo.

Experienced Employees Are Hard to Rattle

Kim Castelda, vice president of human resources for the software development company, Bullhorn, commented on the overall stability of veteran tech workers. “Whatever business challenge is thrown at them, they say, ‘I can solve this problem’. They won’t be rattled,’’ said Castelda. She also echoed Cirillo’s opinion on their skill in mentoring employees new to the workforce.

In short, understanding the unique skills older tech employees offer companies – and taking advantage of those capabilities – is the easiest way to fight ageism in the IT world.

If your organization needs additional insights on building a great IT team, talk to the experts at MindFinders. One of the top technology staffing firms in the Metro DC area, we offer great candidates at all experience levels. Connect with us soon!

 

Written by Tim Booker, President and CEO of MindFinders, with over 20 years of industry experience.

 

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