Finding Employers That Welcome Tech Job Hunters Over 40

Ageism has become such a persistent issue in the tech industry that some CEOs don’t even bother to lie about it.

If you’re an older tech professional, and frustrated with charting a career path, why not focus your job search on companies that have a track record of valuing tenured professionals? Here are some ways to identify those firms that have demonstrated a commitment to hiring professionals regardless of age. 

Obvious Signs

Although many companies include a boilerplate EEO statement in job postings (and sometimes the career section of their website), that’s not always an indicator of commitment to unbiased hiring when it comes to candidates’ age. Companies that are more serious about hiring older professionals usually publish a longer, more meaningful diversity statement that mentions age as well gender, race, national origin and so forth. (For example, this one is from IBM.)

While a lengthy statement won’t necessarily negate age bias during the hiring process, evaluating a company’s public position is definitely a good place to start. Once you’ve identified a potential contender, study job advertisements and the profiles of employees on LinkedIn and GitHub to see if their hiring practices and workforce match their advertised diversity policies, advised Toby Haberkorn, job search coach and co-author of “Best Job Search Tips for Age 60-Plus: A Practical Work Options Resource For Baby Boomers.”

For example, instead of specifying “0 to 3 years of work experience” in every job posting, age-neutral employers align senior-level job descriptions with appropriate job titles and requirements. They also avoid exclusionary adjectives in job postings such as “energetic,” “high potential,” “ninja” or “digital native.”

“Companies that are more progressive are often welcoming to older workers,” explained Tim Driver, CEO of

For instance, research shows that companies that have diverse workforces are often more innovative. A company that has a track record of sustained growth, social responsibility and industry leadership suggests much about the types of employees it hires.

Who is the Company Trying to Attract?

Candidates can tell a lot about a company’s hiring strategy by its employment brand, which is designed to attract and retain employees with specific skills, values and career goals.

Does the company feature one or two senior-level employees in recruiting videos, or is the focus on attracting Millennials to entry-level jobs? If a company touts itself as a stepping stone where newbies can acquire skills and experience that will help them in the future, or a place where employees hang together outside the office, there’s a good chance that it is targeting younger tech workers.

The Proof is in the (Data) Pudding

Companies that are truly striving for impartiality in hiring and employment publish workforce demographics with lots of data. This is an important benchmark, because very few companies are fully transparent about the composition of their workforces.

Moreover, research shows that multigenerational workforces are more productive and have less turnover than those without age diversity. “Generally speaking, companies that have turnover issues hire younger workers, while companies that brag about a lack of turnover have more diverse workforces,” Driver noted.

A company’s tenure and turnover rate can indicate how it treats older employees, as well as its willingness to consider candidates older than 40. For instance, this list from Payscale compares the tenure and average age of employees in the Fortune 500; for comparison’s sake, check out the tenure rates and the average age of employees at some of the major tech firms.

“If you really want to find companies that appreciate and hire older tech workers, broaden your search beyond the tech industry,” Haberkorn advised. Healthcare, education, airlines, business IT services, government and defense are just a few of the industries where workforces tend to skew older.

To give you a hand, here is the median age of workers by occupation and industry, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And here’s a list of over 460 employers that have signed the AARP Employer Pledge publicly stating that they value experienced workers.

Request Feedback from Colleagues

If you’re wondering whether a company is open to considering older job hunters, get a sense of what employees and applicants are saying about their experiences by reading online reviews and asking questions. For example, company review site kununu scans thousands of reviews to come up with a list of companies where workers ages 45+ feel most appreciated.

“Talk to people who were rejected to see how they were treated,” Haberkorn said. “Being over 40 is not the end of the road. In some industries, professionals with 10 to 15 years’ experience are really just getting started in their careers.”

22 Responses to “Finding Employers That Welcome Tech Job Hunters Over 40”

  1. Yep, I’ve been told many times that I’m “overqualified” and that the hiring manager was concerned that I could do their job better than them because of my education and experience. I’ve earned my grey hair, but too many companies that hire technical workers think that if they have 20+ years experience, then they don’t know what the latest technology is.

    • With just over 20 years in IT, I’m out looking in the market for a new employer and I’m suspecting many employers think we are out of touch with the newer technology but in reality we are not. I was a classroom IT instructor 18 years ago while doing my day IT job alongside, the point is we know the fundamentals and core concepts of IT better than anyone. This isn’t that old of an industry to call us old, we are just wiser than the newbies. I think many employers think most of us are “Stuck in our ways” and can’t change, but that is quite the opposite with me, I have learned to adapt to change all of my life, it’s the millennials who are the snowflakes and don’t want to change and work hard. I firmly believe employers are taking advantage of the young talent coming out of college because they will offer them less and think they will grow the worker and mold them into the company. In a few years the employee leaves and the company just repeats their process.

    • Some are not using the term “overqualified”, but will state they are looking for folks with “more relevant experience”. Some have even said my *experience* was “too old”. I have a better understanding of tech in real world environments than many (most?) fresh hires. I understand that business needs should drive tech decisions, and that risks need to be assessed for likelihood and loss expectancy. There’s so much I can offer a company, and I’m getting frustrated that I can’t seem to land a position (whereas when I was younger, almost every interview led to an offer). After six months of searching, I now have a noticeable gap on my resume. Certifications are due for renewal, and I don’t have the funds to renew them (I’m trying to keep the house). It won’t be long before I have to take a job in a factory or at retail, just to help ends meet.

      ~AJ, age 46, 24 years of IT experience (direct support through management)

      • @AJ – Your story is my story too except at age 52. Been well over year trying to “get back in” from a Sr Developer role axed in a workforce reduction. Lack of a specialization in the 10 years at that position is what kept me from reentering in that same type of role. But now just trying to get in a tier 2 help desk or desktop support job to pay the bills, I keep being turned away for dated skills (w/o actually being given an online test to prove otherwise). “Old and in the way” is how our potential junior colleagues view us.
        I try to dissuade them with assurances that I am not ambitious and trying to claw my way back up… I just want to contribute with the skills and experience I have. Judge me as I go or afterwards but not before you’ve had a chance to try me out or even before calling ANY of my references.

        Sheesh. “You want fries with that, sir?” #SMDH

      • Lowell Bloomquist

        Wait until you hit 62…..they get around the law by saying that they are considering those who better suit their needs. I managed two government projects one federal and one State as SME. I would be chosen by HR as the best candidate and get told they were submitting my resume information immediately. Look for a call from the hiring manager later today or tomorrow. I would get a rejection letter 30 minutes to an hour later. Plus, what I was being paid 15 years ago is twice as much as they pay now for the same position.

      • Mnin the exact same position as you… single, home owner, over 20 years experience in IT, which I thought would be a good thing… I embrace change and learning new things and learn very quickly! I’m getting scared now as my savings are running out and I’m far from retirement. I have so much to offer a new employer and don’t even get a chance… hundreds of apps and one in person interview in all that time, mostly no acknowledgment at all. Depressing and degrading when they don’t even give you s chance to show how much you could offer their company! Sad to have been such a trusted and loyal employee for so many years and now I’m worth nothing with all the great and yes, even new technology experience I have.

    • The Architect

      Many times companies cannot see the forest for the trees! I have solved architecture, hardware and coding problems for a few “simple” things like: making air travel safer in the USA; designing detectors for the LHC; using A.I. to solve very complex business problems; using forecasting models to address logistics, decision processes and engineering performance issues. Does any senior hiring manager want to ADMIT they don’t have a clue about any of what it takes to do this kind of stuff? It’s hard to find creative people, and when we show up on their doorstep, they balk at intelligence! Add a recent MBA to the mix, too!

  2. I am 74 and work as an engineer in the technology industry. My health is good and I am told that I look younger than I am. I have received job offers several times since my 60s, but also have been turned down often after interviews. I have found that the best indicator of success is the age of the interviewer or hiring manager. If that person is under 40 I have no chance. If they have gray hair and are 60 plus, I have a good chance.

  3. Ricardo Gomez

    It has nothing to do with qualifications or experience and everything to do with cost. Why hire someone with great skills and experience when an employer can get a 20-something with ‘enough’ skills at 1/2 the price and willing to work 60 hours a week?

  4. Thanks for this article and the links; I’ll check them out. It is good to know, there are companies that aren’t afraid of experience – and don’t assume, you want to become senior vice president because you are “old.”

  5. Couple of suggestions for resumes:

    1) Delete the dates spent earning your degree(s). Even though it’s illegal, HR drones do the math and toss resumes over a certain age. I submitted via a company’s site with college dates, well-qualified for the position and immediately received a rejection email. Submitted from a different address, dates removed and received a “we’ll review your resume!” response. Not only is age discrimination real, but it’s been programmed into recruiting at some companies.

    2) Keep two versions of your resume: the short one for the last ten years and a complete history. Generally, only use the short one unless the position requires more than 10 years experience. It’s my understanding companies retain HR data roughly 7 years from termination, so things farther back are unlikely to have records.

  6. Sounds to me like the age of the recruiter and interviewer is a key element. If they are older then the company probably appreciates the value of older but knowledgeable people. Also look for employers that are in a bind for employees. They will be more intent on getting on with their projects. Once in it’s hard to argue with effectiveness. But I though going the contract path would be a positive thing for an older worker, flexible, adaptable, change receptive and experienced, but seems that for the larger companies like Accenture that it doesn’t work that way. My next effort will be to look to smaller more local contract companies. I know there is a market out there for skilled tech, and it seems more likely that smaller midrange companies who don’t want to train up a newbie is the best bet.?

  7. NextQuestion

    At large corporations, software developers have been commoditized. All are the same and the cheapest is the best. At tech companies, younger is better(and if not from a top tier college, cheaper too!). At medium companies that have in house developers for support and maintenance you stand a chance. The pre Y2k days of making big bucks is over. These H1B guys will eat hours too. Something I would never do. I work a 65 hour week, I bill for 65 hours. As a consultant you count on the hourly excess to cover the non-paid days, like vacation and sick. I have been told on more than one occasion that the budget dictates no more than 40 hours can be billed… but wink wink, we need everyone to chip in and make the(arbitrary) deadline.

    The problems with engineers in the past is they never knew their worth!

    Can you imagine if a CPA or Lawyer was to be called for a production problem. I’ll tell you what would happen. They would say your company needs me to stay running… and they would double their rate. Not an engineer, they like to eat crap. Enjoy, it’s now being dished out by the bushel!


  8. NotGivingUp

    It’s true about ageism. I’m 56 and have a 7 year gap in my IT work history, and that is viewed as making me out of touch with new technology. So I’m looking for mainframe work, which I hope will pan out. (Mainframes are still here and most of my competition is retired or dead.) Whatever happens, you just gotta roll with it.

  9. When a company wants your Social Security Number and Date of Birth or the “background check” before you can submit your application, and US Law permits this … Mr. President, those of us over 40 have a big problem and need a crackdown. Last I learned, laws passed by Congress do not supersede the Civil Rights protection against age discrimination in the Constitution.

  10. A concerned Citizen

    Hi All,

    I am 46 and on the same boat. I have had architecture , program management and business analysis skill set. I am originally from southeast asia and have spent most of my life here in the states.
    I remember the brain drain comments when H1 B program was started.

    People, now these folks have the keys to the house. But who gave them the keys? us only.

    These people violate every law under the sun which have been created to protect workers over decades. Hiring based on race/creed/etc.. is illegal, but these people will only hire people from their own regions/states.

    I think, white people should fire all the Indian managers as for the most part they are corrupt as they are running their side businesses and conflict of interests and NEVER HIRE INDIAN person again.

    I am and just sick and tired of the corruption which has been brought here.

    if this would happen in any other country Local will create a big hoopla and a revolutions. Alas, the greedy people at top do not care.

    I think, time is not far when there will be ethnic cleansing in the US. I will also suffer but I think its needed for decency to survive.

  11. Kurt Amesbury

    I’m thinking it’s about time for the more experienced class to pull together and start thrashing some of these companies that try to do everything with freshouts. Most of us have skills that the new crop won’t acquire for 20+ years. That means we have a big head start.