Big Companies *Heart* Young Workers, But Not Everywhere


Apparently there’s some truth to all that talk about established companies wanting young tech workers… Another voice says hiring’s gaining momentum in Silicon Valley… And how Apple might shut off your iPhone’s camera, whether you want it to or not. All on this week’s Update.

32 Responses to “Big Companies *Heart* Young Workers, But Not Everywhere”

  1. Fred Bosick

    Thanks Mark, for acknowledging that the job market isn’t as rosy as some of DICE’s past videos and articles have implied. I’m sure you got a *LOT* of comments disputing this. I have written one or two, myself.

    That the established IT companies want young employees who are allegedly attracted to the cool project rather than money, is a frank admission that they still want to lowball everyone. Are the pizza parties to fill the hopper with homegrown, because the offshoring isn’t working out? Not that the next Sergey Brin or Mark Zuckerberg is going to be swayed by stale pizza at a lame party. “Hey, hats and t-shirts for everyone!”

    Unlike some unfortunate commenters, I am working. At a job with no raise for 4 years, being a contractor for a profitable midwest manufacturer where the CEO got 50mil in stock and employees got a bonus. Maybe the allure of the cool project pales in comparison to the need to pay off student loans. And, perhaps, the misguided notion that IT work should afford a Middle Class lifestyle. Or simply that the students know too many people laid off by HP, Dell, IBM, EDS, etc.

    • a99weeker

      Personally… I just don’t see each new generation of the young wanting to work harder than the one that preceeded them. I have a nephew 17, plays PS3 all day long. When it comes to applying himself to a PT job to EARN money, he just can’t muster the energy or desire. But give him a new PS3 game and he can muster all the energy he needs to stay up day & night to beat it.

      I can remember my parents telling me when I was young, “.. we want to give you what we did not have when we were growing up..”. Well, that mentality, as it continues, and depending on the child can & has corrupted them into thinking they do not have to work for it. But, reality sinks in and they are woefully ill prepared for the job world.

      Thus companies hire them because of the LOW salary expectations (shoot… when was the last time the child earned $15.00/hr), and have new rules to allow more “web surfing”, “smart phone”, “IM’ing”, “Texting”, “Mobile phone” talking while setting standards lower & lower (you know.. the ever shifting base line.)

      Then.. us “old farts” come along, get hired on, run circles around the youth, doing their jobs and ours and employers wonder why we want more pay?!?

      • CSTAGGS

        I really do love how people fall back on video games and “being lazy” as a generalization for the younger crowd. I for one am 25 years old and LOVE to play video games, however I love fixing PCs more. Not all of us like texting/IMing/talking on the phone, in fact I for one can’t wait to get OFF the phone every time someone calls (I just don’t like talking on the phone). Want to know why we get paid less for being younger? Experience. You “old farts” have plenty of experience, while some of us in the younger crowd only have 2 years or so.

        Topic change…speaking of experience…how are we supposed to get more of it? I can’t count the number of IT jobs I’ve aimed for, with the ultimate result being, “You don’t have enough experience.” How do you get the experience if you don’t have enough experience to get hired on to get the experience? Ahh, the never-ending circle of IT hiring.

  2. Wilson Charton

    As long as IT managers are oblivious to what top software developers can do and as long as the managers cannot recognize ability and results and value, they are going to hire the cheapest stuffed shirt they can find. I predict the downward spiral to continue until the IT managers are hiring football players and cheerleaders as programmers because of their great “communication” skills (translation: “I like to look at them and be with them”). In the meantime, the computer geniuses are all going to Silicon Valley to write the software that will automate most of the naive companies out of business. For example, Zillow could pair up with licensed real estate agents and title companies in each state, sell houses almost entirely by computer for $1,000 commission. That would take Zillow about 5 great developers and 100 very good developers. Boom. Next domino falls, taking down another billion dollar industry. The point? Business can change their ways and advance themselves. They must wake up. They must learn to recognize software talent, learn how to work *with* that talent, and learn how to measure the value contributed by that talent. Again, I predict the obvious: the businesses won’t do that and will fail. Like Borders, CD stores, Blockbuster, and any retail stores without elaborate computing/scanning/inventory systems and tuned distribution networks. Wake up. Top-level software people are very valuable and very willing to help your business.

    • jhaskell48

      The world has changed in a big way, outsourcing has worked in many areas, but doesn’t all of the time – i.e. face to face meetings are irreplaceable for complex technical and business issues. However, many of the outsourced staff are told to only do the work assigned and cannot really move outside of that box……the companies, in spite of the greed at the top, are learning that……slowly. Some of the older workers should maybe look into getting their PMP – not a lot of studying, a lot is common sense and experience (see a trend here?) and it seems to be a good field with opportunities. You would be surprised how many times you are not titled “project manager” by many companies, yet, that is still what you did.

  3. Simulated Hiring Manager

    Looks at resume. Notices age of person (due to years of experience)… throws resume away due to person’s age.

    Ok, Patrick, prove to someone – anyone… that age discrimination just took place.

    • a99weeker

      This is why “dinosaurs” like myself who have developed on mainframes & COBOL for around 15 years are finding it so difficult to find new opportunities.

      1) those who have them are holding on to them like grim death
      2) most mainframe work has gone overseas
      3) remember when… “.. oh yes, these mid-range servers will replace mainframes …”

      #3 is especially interesting because companies were sold on the mid-range server, all of the client server languages, etc. Seems like after spending 100’s of thousands and/or millions to overhaul their IT departments, many companies may finally be seeing the error — but now can’t “afford” to go back?!?

  4. This just goes to show managements inability to run their company and how they are managing to profit over product. Hey a great technical staff is awesome, young or old, but guess what? What about the products that out there? What about your strategists and business developers, and etc? The folks that need to run the business – usually more experienced people? The products out there – truly – are mediocre at best. I am yet to see a product (facebook, linkedin, anything) that I wouldn’t leave in a second if something better came out.

  5. Guys it is called OBAMA-CARE!!!! The healthcare law is allowing companies to age discriminate, because they don’t have a clue how much an older worker is going to cost them in insurance. Well welcome to the real world folks…now they are finally admitting it and actually being proud of it. The joke is that schools are not graduating tech people in droves like they use to, because everybody has been burned and everyone is afraid that if I get a tech degree and work in the tech space, the cycle will happen again and they will not have jobs over some idiot making stupid decisions and allowing companies to hire outside the country for pennies on the dollar. I just wish they would say anyone over 50 need not apply.

    • Unemployed

      Obamacare? Please…

      If anything, it is the profit and greed philosophy that is evangelized by the candidates of the other party. As long as the executives and owners are making huge profits, who cares about the little guy, right?

      Back to the 80s’… Greed is Good.

      • Politico

        You do realize that most of the people that start threads like this (better known as trolls) are on the payroll for one political group or another, right?

        Ignoring them is the best thing to do, although they are experts (that is why they get paid) at starting fires that will call attention to their political agenda.

        • It’s Fall, 2014. I subscribe to NO political party (totally lost faith in the political process). Please tell me how great Obamacare is working out (oh, sorry, everyone’s calling it “The ACA” now).

          I know (from a couple of different employees at different companies telling me) that some companies are giving folks less hours on the clock – hiring more folks for less hours, for the express purpose of bypassing the requirement to give away “free” healthcare. Young workers do not know (are unaware) – and older workers are less likely to want to put up with corporate bs. It’s easier to push around someone who is ignorant, so companies are more likely to hire younger people.

  6. Jill Oliver

    This video gives a lot of encouragement to the population of people trying to cut into the Tech Industry that are not in the “young” category. Do these hiring managers think that the only people with brains are the one’s less than 30? It is surprising to me how blatant the age discrimination is this field.

  7. As a hiring manager (in my 50’s) I find that older people want more money to provide far less out put. It is natural; we are older, we don’t want to build up the same steam as younger people. Sure, that’s a generalization and there are exceptions but really it is common sense and has been the “trend” for many many years. I don’t know why this is such a surprise to anyone who’s been in software for 10 years or more.

    So when I hire, I merely walk a person through scenarios that I expect they would likely find themselves in (crush to get specs defined, crush to get development and testing done, heavy deadlines) and ask how they’d handle that. Describe what they consider to be a “long day” or “an unreasonable situation”. The ones that pretty much say they want 9 – 5 working hours, very well structured process with little chaos are usually older, and don’t want that pressure anymore. I don’t blame them..I don’t either but I have no retirement yet and will work myself into the grave getting one.

    But really…to say that companies should ignore the new talent pool is just silly.

    The larger problem is still outsourcing offshore…and those guys are young and old. They just don’t expect much more than $20/hr for the work. It is why we have Walmart and inexpensive goods.

    Perhaps if our older talent pool would accept far lower income and much longer, frustrating hours they’d eliminate the outsourcing problem. Just kidding.

    • here is another thing I find silly. As a manager in my early 40’s I find that young programmers who are eager to learn and put in the hours at a much lower rate and really kiss-butt, just don’t have what I need – experience!! I find that the more experienced folks typically can get far more done. You also have to look at what you are hiring for. Everyone is still focusing on the programmer! Guess what? If you are planning on having a product live without a long-term strategy and marketing team where age comes in handy, you are in trouble… The other place age come in handy – decision making. Makes for better products.

    • As a hiring manager in my 50’s myself I couldn’t disagree more with your generalizations and bias against older staff. My experience is they will work they same long hours as younger staff and their experience is a value add. I do completely agree with you the elephant in the room is overseas outsourcing, particularly for application development. I just can’t make the business case to hire a young appdev right out of college in the US when I can get an experienced developer from my Indian outsourcer at near half the cost. When I’m told to reduce my staffing budget or they’ll find someone who will, then I eliminate positions, young and old, and call my outsource rep to back fill. I hate it, but the reality is that it is a global market and denying that is burying ones head in the sand.

      • a99weeker

        The most ironic thing about the offshoring is that far more often than not… the code comes back to the US broken, poorly written, etc., which then requires US companies to hire local talent to fix it all – thus blowing up the overall I/T budget. Plus, do most understand why offshore only expect $20/hr?

        Yes.. part is the economic structure there does not require nearly as much as many places in the US. But a big one is the bidding process. A new offshore company often bids a project at a FLAT PRICE. As soon as that contract price is met, ALL remaining work is NO CHARGE to the client.

        An experienced offshore company has “learned” from this mistake. Now they may still bid a FLAT PRICE, but now anything beyond the contract time frame costs “lots” on a per incident, ticket rate. Thus why many US companies have moved IT to Bangkok, Pakistan, Phillipines.

        Always looking for the next company who will bid FLAT and end up eating the overages.

  8. Carlo S.

    I am 50 years old and a former network engineer with tons of experience. I have been unemployed for three years, and things are definitely not looking up.

    I am sure when they look at my resume (if they even do, as I never get any calls or interviews), they make the assumption I will be demanding the salary I had with my previous employer. I am sure they assume I have a family and will not be willing to put 80 hour weeks, work weekends and holidays. I am sure they think I have a lot of aches and pains in my old age and will not be reliable and call sick all the time.

    The jobs that are out there, want to pay $10-$15 for a network administrator job in which they demand not only extensive server, SAN, telecom, security and networking experience and certifications, but now they even want you to be a programmer.

    The staff that is left over is scared to death to lose their jobs and will work as long and as hard as they are told, with no pay raises in years and benefit cuts.

    Good luck to us. Business owns us, for now…

    • Sad but so true. I am 59 with advanced degrees, 30 years solid experience mostly in software engineering – all advanced programming languages and architectures, degrees etc. I have patents through my companies and made well into 6 figures in Silicon Valley where I grew up. But the tech bomb in 2001 left me scraping and battling the up and comers. I finally gave up the software engineering because of the outsourcing. I had led offshore teams back in 1999 and saw the writing on the wall. I took a job paying 44k out of state, but I am building networks now and just landed 9 million in federal funding for a fiber and networking project and bought a home that I could never afford in SV. I know more about the emerging technologies than all the people I interview for jobs. But that doesn’t matter anymore to most companies. They want 80 hours a week and frankly I won’t do that anymore. They know it. You have to adjust and take the pay cut. I don’t get calls for interviews, but one company did at just under 6 figures for a senior position. I gleaned from the interview that they were going to hire a 30 year old friend of the guy who was leaving, but they were so impressed with my resume they wanted to meet me. They even had the nerve to tell me that. What a joke! Unless you land that job where they’ll let you retire at the top of the pay scale good luck to you. It is cutthroat out there for older workers – and those young engineers today will soon wear my shoes.

    • How do the companies know you’re 50 from your resume? I certainly hope you don’t list your age or DOB. Take off dates that you got certified or went to school.

      If you list every job you ever worked and the years add up to 30, that might be a clue. Trim that job list to only contain recent and relevant jobs/positions. If you are right that age is an issue maybe this will help you get calls. If you still don’t get calls, then maybe your resume needs to be worked on by a professional to make it more effective.

      • Susan Smith

        I too have had a difficult time finding work. I was laid off by my employer of 17 years during the time my husband was dying. I was still working 40-50 hours a week at the time.

        I have updated my education. My resume has been reviewed by professionals. However I have only had three interviews and no job offers in over a year of job hunting. My resume does not include any dates or extraneous or irrelevant job positions. Still no job offers, but I have had a number of calls stating that the dates must be added back for me to be even considered as an applicant.

        At job fairs I do really well making contacts and have been told I that I am a good candidate for the job and to expect a call for an interview. Somehow when my resume is passed along to HR I never make the cut. I just don’t understand what the problem is. I am not asking for high wages, just a chance to re-enter the workplace.

  9. jschmidt

    If you want to see a company going after the young you just have to walk into a Best Buy or Apple Store. Look at the age of the staff. My guess s you;d see no one over 40. The staff is young and hip. But these companies have by choice or by default lost the older buyer, which at this point is a huge demographic. THe assumption is if you are over 50 you know nothing about computers. However the common mistake is to forget this demographic, built the space program, the computer and the internet. To assume they’re technologically dumb is pretty stupid. It would benefit companies like apple and best buy to employ the older person because if someone over 60 goes into best buy or apple they may be more comfortable talking to someone near their own age. Few young workers know how to explain things.
    I raised this issue with Best Buy and they told me they don’t age discriminate.

  10. jschmidt

    The typical scenario for a older technology job seeker from my experience.
    You get a call from a search firm-they have a great job for you. You say fine put me in for it. Perhaps the company will have a phone interview, but most often the search firm and company represent are never heard from again. Now this is after reading the description which is an exact fit for the skills of the search. THis happens to me multiple times.

  11. I think people’s reactions to this clip are not justified. The report simply said companies are using strategies to attract young workers. It did not say anything about avoiding older workers.

    Being an IT Exec with 20+ years of experience, I am well aware of the value of experience, stability, and sound judgment. I also value innovation, flexibility, and off the wall thinking. There is a balance between the two in the sense that I want a diverse staff that provides me with both.

    I want a young person that hears the buz and brings ideas to the table and advocates for them because they resonate with his demographic. I also want an experienced person that realizes the pitfalls of following every new trend and can analyze the benefits vs. the risk and make a good decision on the value of said technology in MY company.

    My point is simply that there is a place for all ages in IT. I would never discriminate based on age, but there are some characteristics that are more prevalent in certain age groups and having diversity in these can build a stronger department.

    • jschmidt

      Having worked as a manager for 20+ years in IT, I hired both young and older worker. The experienced worker can bring new ideas to the table just as you;d expect a younger workers to do. Yes the older worker may know the pitfalls but they read an experience new ideas all the time. The younger worker can bring enthusiasm if they are willing to work and start at the bottom and learn. But younger workers often don’t want to prove themselves. I knew one new graduate who because he had worked in the college data center supervising techs thought he should be a manager in a tech company. The younger worker often wants the short cuts while the experienced one knows there aren’t any shortcuts. So a balance of older and youthful workers is needed. Unfortunately I haven’t seen too many companies adopt that stance.

  12. a99weeker

    New unemployment numbers are out.

    For the last month, 1st time claims rise about 11,000 to 429,000.

    So we hear you gotta cut the taxes for the “job creators”, not doing much of that (at least for a living wage). Then we hear, employers have so much uncertainty about the “future” and what is going to happen; so now a 2nd excuse not to hire.

    What will be the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th …. excuses?


  13. I think you have to stay current. If you’ve been doing C for the last 20 years, you’re completely behind the times. I have been doing C mostly in my career, and I can see the day coming where that dries up.

    I managed to stay employed during the slump, and the way I did that was by being paid in the middle but producing at the top. If you want big money it’s out there, but it’s a huge liability when the economy sours.