Unemployable at 30

Sorry for the off-topic thread.

Oppressor made an interesting comment in the EA closure thread -

I suspect, instead, that anyone over the age of 30 will be jettisoned.

It got me thinking about the attitude of the workplace to older workers. I know in my own workplace there is a definite taboo against hiring anyone new over the age of thirty - and my company is a wholesaler.

Also in the same company anyone 45 years or older who hasn’t moved to management is deemed “at risk” and these people are then moved to special projects and ultimately retrenched. This happened to five people in my company during 2002.

Why is there such a bias against older people in the workforce ? It has become a pressing issue for many of my friends and peers as we are all hovering around the 35 - 40 yo mark.

Does that mean I only have 9 years of useful work left to me ? I cannot touch my superannuation until I am 65 (isn’t worth much now anyway since the stock market crash).

When I started work some 18 years ago employees had an immense amount of respect for older workers. That simply does not exist today. Now if you are older than 30 you are looked upon as inflexible. Are the only golden years from 20 - 30 ?

It isn’t just happening in my company. I also had a friend who works for a large finance company that is experiencing the same bias against older workers.

Another friend who is a manager has been briefed by his human resources department NOT to hire anyone older than 30 years of age. That absolutely stinks. So much for equal opportunity in the workplace.

What will it be like in 20 years time when you are only employable from the ages of 20 - 25 ?

There’s a word for companies that fire anyone over 30: bankrupt.

I think what you’re seeing is the natural tendency places have to clean out people who’ve settle into a comfortable routine. You don’t see this much with younguns.

Practically everyone at MSFT is over 30, too.

Even though they’re still performing well and meeting and exceeding their performance targets ? Many of the guys we lost were very experienced.

Most people over in my building are in the 20 - 30 range. But in general I’d have to agree with you about the age range at MSFT

Logan’s Run had the whole free sex policy, though - some people might prefer the tradeoff.

I think the main factor is that younger people are easier to exploit. They have more energy, less commitments and are less likely to say no to any unreasonable requests. I am constantly appalled at the way wisdom is viewed as an irrelevant factor in todays work. Even in the teaching game there is a managerial wariness of experienced teachers- mainly because they’ve been around long enough to see that the latest initiative is a rehash of something that didn’t work 20 years ago.

In IT, there will always be a place for older workers as long as there are mainframes and the like to support. We’ve got a number of folks here that actually retired from places like IBM. We need them because there isn’t anyone coming out of school that knows jack squat about COBOL.

That means that in my workplace at least, there’s a lot of respect for the older workers and they have a lot of respect for guys like me with an all PC background. More importantly, they’re willing to teach the younger guys the things we need to interact with the mainframe.

My employer isn’t typical. Even my superiors would be referred to as my co-workers without a second glance. We’re privately owned and family run too. I’ve looked at some game industry jobs as well as other jobs in my field, but for now, with a family of five to feed at home, it just doesn’t make sense to remove myself from the stability here unless I could go to something equally as stable and committed to the long term…and the appreciation I receive is nice too. This is despite being underpaid for my position.

There’s no push to get to management here, only to maintain your skills and learn new ones as needed. A lot of folks here can do a number of things and aren’t just good at one particular job. That means it’s always easy to shift around to some other part of systems if the need warrants it. It also means we run with a lighter employee load than some companies because there’s a lot of knowledge spread around those that are here.


Depends on the IT. I have a close friend who was in IT for nearly 7 years. Windows and Unix. Knows SQL and several programing languages. Got laid off early November. Had exactly 2 interviews since then. The biggest thing against him? He’s 35 years old. Most places rather hire someone 10 years younger.

Depends on the IT. I have a close friend who was in IT for nearly 7 years. Windows and Unix. Knows SQL and several programing languages. Got laid off early November. Had exactly 2 interviews since then. The biggest thing against him? He’s 35 years old. Most places rather hire someone 10 years younger.

Well, I should clarify that it really does have a lot to do with where you live. If you’re in an area with a high concentration of IT workers, then yeah, it’s going to be tough to get a job. Where I live, even down towards Philadelphia, there are often a lot of jobs available and not nearly so many people to fill them as there would be in say Texas or California among others.

I dunno…in today’s economic climate with corporations so quick to lay people off rather than finding other cost cutting measures, I’d be wary of working anywhere that’s got Wall Street investors to worry about. Many corporations just don’t care about people anymore…but foolishly don’t understand that you can’t function without them.


I have a couple of thoughts.

If this is a known policy where you work, the word that comes to my mind is “lawsuit”. If the HR department specifically said “don’t hire anyone over thirty”, then they’ve opened themselves up to a huge age discrimination lawsuit.

Secondly, the average age of the workforce is getting older, as the population growth stabilizes. It may all be well and good to say “only 20-25 year olds will work” … but then, when you can’t get very many of them, companies with that kind of attitude could have some real problems.

I think this attitude varies from one company to the next. Part of the issue is that older workers are often paid more, and so they become the victims of cost-cutting.

Of course, I’ve recently been an advisor to a Silicon Valley startup. The guy who is CEO “…prefers people with a little gray hair. They don’t make so many mistakes”.


As ever,

Loyd Case

I work as a programmer/analyst for one of the world’s largest IT companies (hint: it rhymes with EDS) and at my current account and location, I am having a hard time coming up with more than a handful of names of people who are UNDER 30. I think that although some of this is due to the technical environment (we don’t use exclusively COBOL or JCL on this particular account, but it is part of it), a larger part is that the company is generally looking for only experienced people right now.
As a caveat, a company our size will vary based on region, but I do know that where I am at the moment, we are not offering a lot of training for fresh out of school kids and I’ve heard of no employees added that were dot-commers (their skill set makes them perfect for what, Arby’s?).

There are safeguards to protect older workers. You’ve never heard of age discrimintaion?

Maybe it occurs more in the IT field, I do know of people that became teachers later in life. We had a highschool teacher who was an accountant until the age of 40. He got burned out and decided to pursue his degree in education. He’s now teaching Special Education, and he loves his job. He never encountered any problems pursuing a job in the field of Education.

Also… I’m in college and there are a few people who are also making career changes and they are in there 30’s and 40’s. They just got burned out and decided that they wanted to teach Special Education.

I guess Government jobs are easier to obtain when your older? The Government has to worry more about age discrimination then a commerical business? I don’t know…

But what I do know is that working at one company and getting that golden company pen when you retire is a thing of the past. I believe that people are looking at 3-5 career changes in there life time, before they retire. You don’t see to many people staying and retiring at that same job.

I am definitely biased since my 35th birthday is rapidly approaching but most of the good programmer/analyst/architect/dba people I know are in their 30s or older. Compared with my 20s I have a much better handle on the bigger picture issues on projects I am on and have no worries that there isn’t anything I can’t figure out when it comes to a database issue. Experience is so valuable in so many situations. No matter how smart you are when you are younger experience is what saves you the most time later on.

– Xaroc

If you are indispensable, nobody cares if you are over 30 or beyond 60.

Don’t get stuck in workplace rut and you won’t have to worry about being made redudant due to age.

Must we cry about everything now? How about crying for the companies that just want to stay afloat - and as such, have to make these hard decisions. You think the guy sitting at the top gives a rat’s ass if you’re over 30 and have six kids and a pregnant wife at home, when he has to keep watching his bottom line. And what if your very 31 year old existence has NO effect on the company’s bottomline, what then?

In that other thread, EA cuts a couple of studies and we’re crying about it? Wtf?

Sorry derek, but we all can’t be millionaires like yourself! You lucky, as you don’t have to work. But most of us do, and this is a serious matter!

Dear John,

whatever it is you’ve been sniffing, snorting, smoking, shooting, inhaling or drinking, is bad for your health.

Read my post again. SLOWLY this time, once you’ve recovered.

I don’t have to work. Are you fucking kidding me?!?!

Well your pay rate and health insurance costs them more.
They’re sacrificing experience (and job loyalty) however, which can be more costly in the long term. Also, I think there’s a profile, not necessarily an accurate one, about the older folks who don’t move on to management. Job re-training has become mandatory in today’s workplace and companies are reluctant to keep people who don’t have upwardly mobile skills and ambition.

My father is a corporate CEO (small non-public company, which means he’s not rich). His advice has always been to NEVER be loyal to your company and to always be on the look out for a new and better job. Parallel promotion and advancement, he calls it. His reasoning is that your job will never be loyal to you and that you are the product you’re selling.

Anyway, this is why I’m self-employed.

Peter and Sean are both from Australia. The toilets flush the wrong way and their hiring/firing practices are, obviously, also backwards. Also, I am 33 and job hunting so this whole thread makes me nervous and is giving me a tummy ache.

You shouldn’t have much to worry about provided your salary demands are in line with your skills.

– Xaroc