Monday, June 25, 2018
Our friend and frequent contributor, Naomi Cahn, recently sent us an item about an age discrimination in employment investigation at Intel. Silicon Valley's quieter discrimination fight, published in Axios at the end of last month, offers this quick take "[t]he disclosure that Intel is under investigation for age discrimination highlights what many see as an unspoken truism of the tech industry: it's a young man's game...Why it matters: Over the last year, much has been made of the industry’s maleness. But there’s been less of a spotlight on its preference for youth over experience." The Axios article offers these statistics:
By the numbers:
- Nearly 20% of those laid off by Intel in 2016 were 60 or over, according to the Oregonian.
- 7.8% were 55-59.
- 11.2% were under age 45.
- 5% were under 35.
Intel isn't alone, as the article notes, other companies have been investigated. The takeway, according to the article,
Our thought bubble: While much of the age discrimination issue centers around worker bees vs. tech leaders, Silicon Valley also has a love affair with young founders. But as these companies move to the center of our economic and social existence, they need to tap the experience of workers and managers who've built institutions and weathered storms. Otherwise, no matter how smart they are, they'll keep making rookie mistakes.
- As for the industry's silence on the topic, it's a fair bet that many prefer to keep their head down and pass as younger rather than carry the mantle of being the voice for the older tech worker.
Side note: It's somewhat interesting that Intel finds itself in the crosshairs given that the company has been a leader among big tech firms in trying to diversify its ranks when it comes to race and gender. Intel, for its part, denies it has discriminated based on age or any other basis.