As I spent time reflecting on why the culture has changes so much, I was reminded of how much aspects of age have changed around here. When I first began working in tech back in the 1990s, I was one of the younger members of the staff. Demographically speaking, the workplace was reasonably well distributed in terms of age; young workers just out of college, middle aged workers that had been in the workplace for ten years or more, and older workers that had been around for a long time.
These days, much of that has shifted. Consider this data from research by Payscale:
- While the overall median age of American Workers is 42.5, the oldest median age in the Payscale survey of technology workers was at Hewlett-Packard at 41 years.
- The other five companies with older workers, in descending order of median age, were I.B.M. Global Services (38 years old), Oracle (38), Nokia (36), Dell (37) and Sony (36). Note that from this list Oracle is the only business that's primarily here in Silicon Valley.
- The seven companies with the youngest workers, ranked from youngest to highest in median age, were Epic Games (26); Facebook (28); Zynga (28); Google (29); and AOL, Blizzard Entertainment, InfoSys, and Monster.com (all 30).
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only shoe stores and restaurants have workers with a median age less than 30.
Perhaps, like this story about the economist on the dating site, hiring youth is more statistical discrimination than it is anything else. When I heard Stanford Professor Paul Oyer on the radio promoting his book, he also described some of the significant similarities between the dating world and the job market. To paraphrase something that he said during his KQED appearance, "like dating, both the employer and the job candidate must like each other and be interested in the relationship."
Whatever the reasoning behind it, working from a general recognition that today's emerging companies are less likely to hire older workers, you can draw some other conclusions; specifically, if there is a surging economy in the world of tech start-ups and if you don't belong to a specific demographic, then, like a Google bus, you're probably not getting on in. It matters little whether you are a nice person with a great personality, whether your interests are aligned, or even if you've been waiting at that public bus stop for a long time, you're not going to get on that bus.
Want to see what the impact of this trend has been? Here are a couple of links:
- Check out this dynamic infographic showing the relationship between "private shuttles in San Francisco" and businesses in the those same areas in the city. The Pando post describing it in more detail is here.
- Then there's this link to a map of evictions in the city. Here's another Pando post on this one.
Today's Silicon Valley is trending Logan's Run. It's an Amazing place. There's just one catch. You are only allowed so many technology cycles before you're replaced by an H1B visa, an Ivy League intern or perhaps someone with not less than 4.6692 Likes on Facebook. Then, it's carrousel. Or you can run.