Millennials prosper in tech as Generation X and Boomers get shut out: report

Just to be clear: Silicon Valley is not “Logan’s Run.” Unlike in the spooky ’70s thriller, techies don’t get hunted down and killed when they become what are called in the Valley “olds.”

They just get shut down by a rising tide of millennials.

That’s the conclusion of a just-released report by human resources consultancy Visier.

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“Systemic ageism exists in tech hiring practices,” Visier reported.

Generation Xers are being hired for tech jobs at a rate 33 percent less than their workforce representation, and Baby Boomers 60 percent less, Visier reported.

“Tech companies that design a recruitment strategy around millennials alone are shortsighted, overlooking the performance and experience that Gen Xers and Baby Boomers bring to the table,” said Visier’s chief strategy officer Dave Weisbeck.

 “Balancing a team’s skills and experience is critical for tech leaders, and can make or break a company.”

The tech industry’s composition, according to Visier, supports the conclusions of its research, which it says was “based on an analysis of 330,000 employees from 43 large U.S. enterprises.” The average age in tech is 38, compared to 43 in non-tech industries, Visier reported.

While a tech worker may, in Silicon Valley, be labeled an “old” once they start to show gray hair, stop wearing skinny jeans or, God forbid, have grandchildren, Visier describes aging workers as “Tech Sages.” And paradoxically, the knowledge and skills they’ve developed are valued, according to Visier.

“From age 40 onwards, non-manager workers in tech enter the “Tech Sage Age” and are increasingly likely to receive a top-performer rating as they age, mature, and gain experience, compared to non-tech,” the company reported.

But while they may get gold stars on their HR files, in reality they’re headed for a wall, the report suggested. Although Generation Xers make up 41 percent of talent available to tech firms, that age group makes up only 27 percent of new hires. In non-tech industries, that group makes up 45 percent of available talent but also makes up 35 percent of new hires, according to Visier.

Older workers may be less likely to be hired, but there’s reportedly a silver lining.

“Older tech workers do not take a hit in salary,” according to Visier. “Older tech workers that are newly hired do not — on average — experience a lower wage. Rather, newly hired workers are paid the same average salary as more tenured workers, across all age groups.”

And for companies, employee retention is better among older workers, with millennials resigning at higher rates than Generation Xers and Boomers.

“The message to employers: hiring more Gen X and Baby Boomer talent will provide more stability in their workforce and reduce turnover costs,” according to Visier, which is located in Vancouver, Canada.

The trend, started by Google, of tech companies publicly reporting on the diversity of their workforces typically does not include age.

Photo:  Artist’s rendering of Google’s proposed Charleston East campus (City of Mountain View)


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  • Walking Fool

    Ageism is very real, but no HR dept will admit to it.

    • milpitasguy

      Until the company gets sued.

      • Dave Simpson

        They may hire a few older people for legal coverage, and they fire (or lay off) a few younger people for legal coverage.

    • blue_laser2003

      Yes, against real young kids…..Have you seen some of these new techies personal habits? I wouldn’t want to bring in anyone under 30 now. Always on their phones.

    • blue_laser2003


  • Disqusted_with_you_all

    This is no surprise.

    No kids. No mortgage. No problem working in a “campus” that has everything you could ever want or need and not leave. In short, the youth of today are perfectly satisfied living an online life and not devoting any time or attention to anything else.

    The days of the coal mine have returned. Everyone under 35 is just too preoccupied with their virtual life that they don’t have any idea they don’t have an actual one.

    • Mike Douglas

      You’re criticizing people for not having real lives, when you’re posting from a computer and lecturing virtual people?

      • blue_laser2003

        I don’t think they were criticizing… just pointing out issues.

      • Disqusted_with_you_all

        Let me put it like this, cyberbullying isn’t a real thing. The solution is to either simply ignore commentary or turn off your device and walk away from it for a few days.

        If you can’t do either, then you have no real life.

    • blue_laser2003

      this is fake news.

    • blue_laser2003

      how long do you think these rich & greedy tech companies are going to offer that with all these new tech taxes? I remember Intel used to give out free everything, long gone.
      I am skeptical of any administration that has this many giveaways. You get miserable people that are reluctant to change jobs and bring people down with their attitude.

      • Dave Simpson

        If the H1-B importation doesn’t reach a point where the perks can end, it will be either establishment of dominance and consolidation in the industry, or the companies’ maturity or maturities (as with intel). Once the desire or need to cut costs is great enough, away the perks go. Note that the companies could collude, do it together, if not simultaneously. (That would be a giveaway, if on the same date!)

    • Dave Simpson

      If anything, it’s worse now, not just the situation where people can be kept on site because of all the services (though not at all companies), but the age issue. These days it’s like pro sports*. Ironically in the last few decades medicine continues advancing and in the past several decades people have often been exercising, watching their diet, not smoking, etc., and rather than forty, age fifty is the “hill” or “over the hill” and people normally are active and routinely work into their seventies (if not subjected to age or related cost discrimination first).

      Age 50-55 introduces physiological changes (better noticed with women) and this can’t be pushed back more than a gradual shift that’s happened with advances in medicine and diet.

      Meanwhile, many Millennials often have “work issues,” as someone else already has stated.

      * They’re brought in after college, used through their peak in late twenties, then their shelf life’s end is more and more rapidly approached, then they’re discarded, effectively.

    • Dave Simpson

      That’s where the “urban campus” concept can be sought by Google, or by Amazon, as it fits with that model, as critics have already noted with Amazon’s job search. That’s what the Seattle arrangement is like now, even better than Google’s, because residences are nearby.

    • gtoscanini

      You know when I saw these campuses the first thing that came to mind is that they are expecting me to put in a ton of hours and not go home. No thanks. I work hard but I have a life outside of work but I don’t have much of a virtual life which is great.

  • charlie hustle

    Same as it’s always been. Ten, fifteen years ago, this same article was written, but with gen-exers outnumbering boomers…

    • blue_laser2003

      and boomers still dominating tech management.
      Not going to change until the 2030’s. Maybe you young guys can hang out and smoke weed while you’re waiting for us to free up these good jobs.

      • charlie hustle

        Shame they didn’t save for retirement. Can’t imagine working into my 70’s

        • gtoscanini

          I can’t imagine doing nothing in my 70’s. I might not work as much but I will definitely continue. Use it or lose it.

  • Sasha Petterson

    • blue_laser2003

      takes about 2 years for a 50 year old to get in with all our skills.

  • nikkiminaj

    The elders should take a knee during the national anthem.

    • blue_laser2003

      don’t give orders, obama is long gone, snowflake!
      We will hold these jobs a long time to deny people like you. Count on it.
      You won’t see that on CNN or MSNBC either!

      • blue_laser2003

        But I can actually see someone taking the knee to load their 15-rd clip!
        Boom….Done! Problem solved!

  • ChunkyMonkey

    This was breaking news….in 1985.

    • blue_laser2003

      breaking FAKE news. These companies are really desparate for skilled workers. I hear Intel is actually hiring cleared felons!

      • Jon

        They may be hiring felons, but I’ll bet that none of them are over 50.

  • CM

    Well, duh! Being an older tech worker means getting laid off is a career death sentence.

    • blue_laser2003

      where did you hear that?? Demo-descriminator are you?
      We 50-somethings will always mistrust these young kids.
      We have 3x the experience and skills of these smelly punks.
      And were not ready to give up the helm.

      • CM

        Where did I hear that? My own personal experience and the experience of many people I worked with over the years. You’re right, we have much more experience and skills, but tell that to the tech companies in Silicon Valley. As older workers we’re also experienced enough to know when management is BS’ing us and they know we know. We also have lives and don’t want to be slaves to our jobs. Tech companies here in Silicon Valley want you to devote your entire life to the job.

  • blue_laser2003

    Maybe in the liberal states on the west coast, but not where I’m from. Most of these millennials have work issues that are difficult to deal with. I see the majority hired are still the 35-55 yr olds. Come to the cloud!

  • Dave Simpson

    I like the nice ageist kiddie picture being used again by the Merc. (Token elderly noted.)

    Interestingly, the building looks like a reused 1950s-1960s public school or library building.

  • Makikiguy

    I remember IBM 360s

  • Dr. Donny

    Gee, I got a consulting job with a SV start-up last year – and I am 72. The chief mechanical consultant was 63, and the outside university tech reviewer was also 60+. Connections and reputation can do a lot to mitigate the reported trend. Oh well – back to another consulting job I have now. Nice to be retired and pick up extra money when you want it.