A recent PayScale survey found that the median age among 32 tech companies is young – really young. For the lot, only six had a median age over 35. Among the youngest: Epic Games at 26, Facebook and Zynga at 28, and Google at 29.
Meanwhile, in a recent poll from Robert Half Technology, more than half (55 percent) of CIOs cited lack of interpersonal skills as new grads’ biggest barrier to being able to contribute right away.
Said John Reed, Robert Half Technology's senior executive director:
"IT hiring managers are seeking candidates who not only possess technical abilities, but can also meet deadlines and work well with customers and colleagues. New IT graduates can distinguish themselves in the job market by demonstrating business acumen and solid interpersonal skills."
Interpersonal skills were further defined as the ability to communicate well, both verbally and in writing; conflict resolution; ability to work as a team; and diplomacy.
Meanwhile, in a poll from consulting firm Adecco, hiring managers dinged job candidates ages 18 to 24 for some really basic errors: Showing up late for interviews or on the wrong day, failing to make eye contact, and checking their phones or texting during interviews.
So considering the span between that first post-college job and the median age at some tech companies, are we to believe that these young tech pros gained a massive education in the ways of the world in just a few short years?
A piece at The Huffington Post nixes that idea. It explores the downsides to an all-twentysomething staff, though at first glance some of these could seem ideal:
"They’re obsessed with career advancement, immersed in the Internet and don’t yet have families pulling them away from the office. Because they’re still only starting out in their careers, they’re also usually cheaper to hire.”
Among those downsides are spending too much time working out problems that workers with more experience could handle more quickly. It quotes a New York City tech startup worker’s take on peers’ sensitivity to criticism or even well-meant feedback:
“…once you throw in the ability to respond or confront people instantaneously on Twitter or Facebook or email, you get a lot of heated thinking and rash decisions that prior generations didn't even have the opportunity to do."
And there’s burnout. With people devoting their whole lives and identities to a job, that’s a very real risk.
Unfortunately, that article doesn’t foresee the industry suddenly valuing the input of more seasoned workers.