Age bias is "something that no [employer] talks about. But it's a reality in tech that if you're 45 years of age and still writing C code or Cobol code and making $150,000 a year, the likelihood is that you won't be employed very long," says Vivek Wadhwa, who currently holds academic positions at several universities, including UC Berkeley, Duke and Harvard.
As Wadhwa's observation indicates, "age bias" is a simplistic label for a complicated set of factors that influence the job prospects for senior tech employees. When considering workers over the age of 50, employers take the following factors into account:
• The relevance, applicability and currency of their skills, which may or may not be up to par with those of younger employees.
• The level of compensation they expect, which is typically higher than the salaries younger people seek.
• Their behaviors and attitudes, which can become rigid and narrow-minded with age.
• Their energy level, which is presumed to be less than that of a 25-year-old.
While none of these generalizations is necessarily true for any particular candidate, each is a stereotypical assumption about older workers. What's more, they are all logical and legal reasons for an employer to fire, or not hire, someone.Essentially, the article is saying that because older workers (many of whom are not making even close to $150,000 a year) are more likely to have these characteristics than younger workers, employers are free to discriminate based on age, and it will be hard to second-guess the decision.