IT industry guilty of age discrimination

By Dawinderpal Sahota
04 Jan 2011 View Comments

Three out of every four IT professionals think the industry discriminates against the over-50s, according to IT recruitment consultancy Greythorn.

The figure was revealed by the company's survey of 450 UK IT professionals across all ages.

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While 70 per cent of the IT professionals surveyed said that they feel either "secure" or "very secure" in their jobs, just 30 per cent of those over 50 feel the same way. In addition, almost three in 20 over-50s said they felt "very insecure" in their current role, compared with the average of just one in 20.

One unemployed and over-50 participant in Greythorn's survey said: "I desperately need to get working full-time again. I have tried everything I know to get back into the job market, but the ageism out there is a disgrace!"

Another added: "I am aware, personally, of some excellent engineers in their 50s who are redundant but who would do very well for any company which gave them a chance to show what they can give."

The discrimination is further manifested in the length of time it takes people to find jobs. Whereas it took 19 per cent of IT professionals more than three months to find their last job, one third of those in their 50s needed more than three months to find a job.

"In IT, age is not necessarily perceived as an asset; some people over 50 think they are unpopular with current and future employers because of the perception that experienced people cannot adapt to new technologies," said Paul Winchester, managing director at Greythorn.

"This poses questions for the industry. Yes, Generation Y has grown up with Web 2.0 et al – but does that really give them an edge? Is it worth losing the in-depth knowledge, man management skills and experience of the over-50s in the pursuit of youth?"


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