Age & Tech

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Experience need not apply

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Overview

In this Keynote, I explore the uncomfortable, but vital, topic of how ageism is an unspoken factor in hiring and advancement in the tech industry today,  how it becomes a negative multiplier when combined with sexism and racism, and ways that we can reframe the issue to find a better way forward in the future.

Need

Despite setbacks, we hear a lot about diversity in the workplace, often with positive examples like LGBTQ inclusivity or the outing of libertine attitudes in tech start-ups like Uber. It would seem that a lot of effort is being put forward to root out the many harmful “–isms” of the past century.

Yet, at the very heart of the tech industry is a worm in the bud: old people are not allowed. It’s not that anyone would say that out-loud; well almost nobody. Mark Zuckerberg has been quoted as saying , ”Young people are just smarter”, but that was in 2007 when he was 23. One wonders how he feels about now that he is 33?

Purpose

We have to ask the right questions about ageism. Instead of asking “How can we hire more older employees?”, we need to ask the question “What is the best role experienced employees can play in our organization?” This will take a rethinking of roles, and possibly even creating new roles that allow the sharing of experience without the need to enter management.

Who this is for

Anyone concerned with diversity in the tech workforce and how we deal with an aging workforce. This includes thinkers from around the globe who want to discuss a vital topic in the tech industry.

Attendees will learn…

  • What is “ageism” and how does it compound racism and sexism in the workforce.
  • What biases and euphemisms keep older employees away from tech jobs.
  • Why ageism is prevalent in the tech industry.
  • How we can move beyond ageism in hiring a diverse staff.

Download the full keynote spec (PDF) »