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Do you have an ageist IT department?

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An article produced by Julia Vowler from IT Network ask the following questions and if you feel that you can answer Yes, then it would be worthwhile investigating whether you have a problem of ageism within your IT department.


  1. You run recruitment campaigns for 'young dynamic people' without thinking about it.
  2. Your managers automatically feel less threatened and more comfortable with younger subordinates.
  3. You, or your personnel department, use date of birth as the first filter when sorting job applicants.
  4. You automatically think the 'e' word can only be understood by someone who knows it also stands for ecstasy.
  5. You wonder why it is so hard to find staff with extensive project management experience.
  6. You wonder why staff never seem to stay put these days, always off for a better job just as you have settled them into the one they are about to leave. Whatever happened to loyalty?
  7. You run a pensions scheme designed for younger workers and a redundancy scheme targeted at older ones.
  8. You have a worsening skills shortage.

Research has been carried out by ITNTO (IT National Training Organisation) highlighting that the age profile of employees in the IT sector is getting younger while the number of older people is decreasing. John O'Sullivan, ITNTO's project director stated that ageism is a hidden problem as IT departments are not even aware that they are doing it. Managers themselves are more comfortable employing people younger than they are. O'Sullivan also points out that those people who come from a structured business discipline such as accountancy or engineering do not have a problem taking on IT.

The abilities of older people are discriminated against especially in the area of IT as this usually presents a youthful image, but employers do have to be careful not to overlook the older worker who could have the better skills in areas of customer support or project management because of the skills required to handle deadlines and pressure.

Younger people can sometimes be too ambitious whereby they are off chasing more attractive opportunities and would prefer to work in an environment dealing with the latest technology even if it is not the right solution for the business they are currently with.

As other research projects have proven, many more experienced people are re-skilling to increase and improve their IT knowledge and are competent when using IT, they should not be overlooked and be given the same opportunity as a younger person who came fresh out of education.

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