Ageism starts at 34 now

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If you look at actual OECD data, of course the job market extends a bit beyond 34. But does it really? We know a lot about ageism in hiring, and we also know it’s paradoxical to apply in marketing (only focusing on millennials), because younger people tend to have less money than older people. Just generally.

Anecdotally, I would say this → The last 2–3 places I’ve had bigger contracts with and needed to visit the office a decent amount, the average age of an employee was 28 or so. There were a few execs in their 40s and no one else, really. Most of sales, SDRs, accounts, marketing, etc. were 28 year-olds, usually female, who spent most of their down time on The Gram.

Small sample size, but I’ve heard dozens of other friends say it too.

Now, also anecdotally, I know a few 27/28 year-olds who have been in job searches in the past year. All of them resolved in less than 75 days. Now, everyone I know over 35 who goes unemployed, it’s a minimum of six months. I know two people over 40 who have been unemployed for three+ years.

All of this is semi-logical. We deify the internal culture of tech companies, and those tend to be youthful. Since most jobs these days (white-collar, at least) involve some degree of interaction with tech, software suites, and apps … it’s biased (but logical, again!) thinking that we need younger people in order to be successful with this stuff. That’s largely bullshit because even the millennial generation is four waves; the oldest wave is in their early 40s and understand tech just fine. But can they get jobs within, say, software implementation? Quite likely not. Unless you have a “rabbi” who can walk your resume straight to the hiring manager, you’re probably getting #piped out by some algorithm somewhere.

Apparently half of American job-seekers believe they’ve experienced ageism, as an aside here. Some tech companies actively tell people they’re “over the hill” in their 30s. Ha. Unless you made a mint and saved well, you’ve got at least two more decades of working, and yet you’re now “over the hill?” Right. Some believe age discrimination within tech roles now begins at — wait for it — 29. People are now calling ageism “the last great prejudice,” which is funny because we still have plenty of prejudices everywhere. And it’s such a big deal that The New Yorker even did a deep dive on it a few years back.

We seem to be at a really dangerous intersection around employment right now. Most CEOs want to automate. Most hiring managers want youth. But the money isn’t there for most workers, so they need to keep working to survive and thrive in their own lives — and make decisions about families, homes, etc. But these twin forces of “You’re dead to me at 35” and “You’re dead to me because you’re not a robot” seem to be rising faster than we thought…

Your take?

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