How Can We Achieve Age Diversity in Silicon Valley?

You hear a lot about lack of diversity in Silicon Valley (and the tech sector in general). Tech is overwhelmingly white and Asian males. Women and people of color are a rarity. But what you don’t hear much about is folks over the age of 40.

One company, Payscale, does supply some estimates. Looking at its numbers in 2012, Payscale noted, “The typical tech employee wasn’t around for the original release of Star Wars.” And as of last year, the average age at Google was 30; at Facebook, 28; LinkedIn, 29, and Apple, 31. In comparison, the average age in more traditional tech industries like data processing or web publishing was almost 10 years higher than Silicon Valley/Internet firms.

My company, which falls into the “traditional tech industries” category, does trend higher in age. But it’s important to note that the ages break down into only two broad categories: new college hires and long-tenured employees. Most of those in the middle have either been laid off or left for greener pastures. Hiring of experienced workers is forbidden so we’ll trend younger over time. Someone over the age of 40 has no possible chance of being hired here. I doubt that’s unusual and that’s a problem.

Leave a Reply