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When It Comes to Age Bias, Tech Companies Don’t Even Bother to Lie

Imagine you’re African-American and working at a 500-person technology company where everyone else is white, and one day the CEO declares in a national newspaper interview that his company’s lack of diversity isn’t an accident. In fact he prefers to hire white people because when it comes to technology white people simply make better employees. That statement would be unthinkable. But what if a tech CEO made the same comment about age?

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Craig Cardimon found this gem on LinkedIn. I think the sentence in this article that struck me the most–because it validated something I’ve said time and time again–is this one: “I suspect the truth is that tech startups prefer young workers because they will work longer hours and can be paid less.” In fact, I just had a conversation with someone yesterday about just that point. I had seen a job listing for a social media strategist for a non-profit that I knew would be great for a friend of mine who has done PR, marketing, and more recently social media her entire career. She’s unemployed, and I knew she had the experience, and it was also a cause near and dear to her heart. She said she’d probably apply for it, even though she, most likely, would not be considered because she is “old” (she’s not) and they want to pay peanuts, She’s used to not being paid as much from being in the non-profit sector for so long, but even so… This story shows a travesty that’s going on in the industry. And it’s not only ageism. There’s racism and sexism as well. So basically, as long as you are a young, white male, you’re fairly guaranteed to get an IT job in a tech company. When did inexperience outrank experience? I know I’m still new in the industry, but the only thing I have “going” in my favor based on the above-said criteria is that I’m white. And I don’t seek white privilege. Being an older woman in itself breaking into the IT world and not being some young whipper snapper is hard enough without all the other obstacles in the way of just proving yourself worthy at all. What do you think of this article? Include your comments below.

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Danielle M. Villegas is a technical communicator who currently employed at Cox Automotive, Inc., and freelances as her own technical communications consultancy, Dair Communications. She has worked at the International Refugee Committee, MetLife, Novo Nordisk, BASF North America, Merck, and Deloitte, with a background in content strategy, web content management, social media, project management, e-learning, and client services. Danielle is best known in the technical communications world for her blog,, which has continued to flourish since it was launched during her graduate studies at NJIT in 2012. She has presented webinars and seminars for Adobe, the Society for Technical Communication (STC), the IEEE ProComm, TCUK (ISTC) and at Drexel University’s eLearning Conference. She has written articles for the STC Intercom, STC Notebook, the Content Rules blog, and The Content Wrangler as well. She is very active in the STC, as a former chapter president for the STC-Philadelphia Metro Chapter, and is currently serving on three STC Board committees. You can learn more about Danielle on LinkedIn at, on Twitter @techcommgeekmom, or through her blog. All content is the owner's opinions, and does not reflect those of her employers past or present.

2 thoughts on “When It Comes to Age Bias, Tech Companies Don’t Even Bother to Lie

  1. In case you missed it, Lyons has a piece in today’s NYTimes op-ed section about his experiences at HubSpot. Read that, and you’ll see that there’s much more going on here besides simply age discrimination. I’m not saying that age discrimination in Tech isn’t a serious issue, just that it’s part of a bigger story.

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