Tech companies have a Baby Boomer problem

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Sarah Keayes / Stringer / Getty Images

All the recent focus on sexism and gender discrimination in Silicon Valley has obscured another long-festering diversity problem for the tech industry: ageism.

Now job hiring website Indeed is shining a spotlight on the issue. The company recently conducted a survey of 1,011 currently employed US tech workers. The survey results indicate how little age diversity there is in tech and how little tech companies are doing to change the situation.

One glaring finding: 46% of respondents said that the average employee age at their company was between 20 and 35.

Here’s some of what Indeed found and how the industry is approaching the issue of age discrimination:


Survey respondents said they mostly work with younger workers.

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A group of Googlers celebrating Pride.
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Facebook/Life at Google

Only 26% of respondents to Indeed’s survey said that the average employee at their firm was over 40.

That’s not surprising given findings of other studies. According to data from 2014 collected by PayScale, a salary analysis company, the median age at Facebook is 28, and 30 at Google.

By contrast, the median age of members of the American labor force as a whole is 41.9, according to US Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Employees generally aren’t worried about the paucity of older co-workers.

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Father of the Internet and Google employee Vint Cerf is one example of the Google’s “Greyglers” group for older employees.
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Google

Only a fifth of survey respondents think the Baby Boomer generation is underrepresented at their company.


Older tech workers are more likely to look for jobs outside of Silicon Valley.

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Downtown Huntsville, Alabama
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Wikimedia Commons

San Jose and San Francisco are the top two places tech workers of all ages seek to work. But Baby Boomers are much more likely than younger workers to look elsewhere for employment opportunities, Indeed found. And Boomers are more likely to seek employment in places younger workers shun.

For example, Huntsville, Alabama, ranked third on Boomer techies’ list of most desired places to work in Indeed’s study. Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, ranked seventh and ninth, respectively. None of those cities made the top 10 list for either Millennial or Gen X tech workers.

Meanwhile, for younger tech workers, Austin, Texas, ranked number four after Seattle, but it didn’t make the Boomers’ list at all.


Many tech workers are stressed about losing their jobs due to age.

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Sutterstock / ChingChing

Some 43% of Indeed survey respondents said they worried about losing their job because of their age. And 18% said they worry about that possibility “all the time.”


The types of jobs tech workers seek depends a lot on their age.

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Millennials are five times more likely to click on jobs with “developer” in the title, such as front-end developer, Android developer, web developer, or Java developer.

By contrast, Boomers are more likely to click on job listings for engineering positions and managerial roles.


Most tech workers believe the situation is improving.

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TownePost Network/Flickr

Some 55% of survey respondents said diversity at their companies has improved since they started. About four in five respondents believe their companies care about having a diverse employee base.