Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's Nice To See Age Discrimination Out In The Open...

This way I don't have to waste my time applying for a position that says directly:
Open to new graduates and experienced developers with up to 15 years work experience.
Yes, theoretically, they could be hiring people in their 50s who made a career change ten years ago.  I don't think this would impress too many judges.

Yes, if employers want to discriminate against the middle-aged, that is their business.  But it does not say much for Sybase that they would directly state that they don't want anyone with more than 15 years of experience to apply for a job.


  1. As I understand age discrimination law, you can't discriminate on the basis of age for people between 40 and 70. So if you just won't hire anyone over 40, you're not actually violating the age discrimination law.

  2. I've worked at Sybase for over 15 years already ... but I think that is at least partially a mistake in wording. At any rate it has been brought to the attention of HR and will be going up the chain.

  3. My experience here in the Boise area is that this ad merely states what is actually the norm in the private sector: they don't hire (or even consider) software engineers over 40.

  4. Clayton, do you believe that the Boise area is better or worse than most other metro areas? I ask sincerely since my exposure to the tech biz is hardware, but from all the accounts I've heard from my software relatives age discrimination is rampant on the software side.

    But it sometimes works both ways: I have an uncle pulled out of retirement because some FAA changes mandated changing some code he had written in an ancient language that nobody left really knew. He didn't mind too much going back since the current economic conditions slammed his retirement nest egg.

  5. I really have no idea. When I left the Bay Area, I was 44, and I was beginning to get the impression that age was becoming my enemy on job searches.

  6. I believe in general the problem is nation-wide. Of course there is always exceptions as with the rare need for "ancient" knowledge that can't be filled by a younger developer.

    I also believe that if a job stays unfilled because there are not enough youngsters or H1B's to fill the job they will then eventually start to consider older workers again (if the job absolutely has to be filled my any means), but will we ever get back to that point again...doesn't look too promising anytime soon.

  7. It's true in the D.C. metro area: I'm blessed with genes that allow me to look much younger than I am (most recently, at age 50 I was still being mistaken for a 20s something student; clothing and such of course make a difference).

    When I hit my mid-30s, I experienced the usual problems that are said to hit starting then ... until I got a clue and erased all evidence of my age from my resume. The difference was like night and day.

    Well, as long as I was careful in interviews, e.g. in one I slipped and mentioned PDP-11s and the interviewer exclaimed loudly "Just how old are you?!?!?!!!"