IT Workers Skew Young

    We’ve long known that the tech industry is a young man’s game, but perhaps we didn’t realize how young.

    PayScale looked at the age of workers at 32 top tech companies and found just six had a median age over 35, reports The New York Times. The study polled 21,700 respondents, and only around 30 percent were female.

    The median age of American workers overall is 42.3 years old. Yet of the companies PayScale analyzed, HP was the granddaddy of them all with a median age of 41 years.

    “The firms that are growing or innovating around new areas tend to have younger workers,” said Katie Bardaro, the lead economist at PayScale. “Older companies that aren’t changing with the times get older workers.”

    Younger workers, too, tend to have newer skills, she said.

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    “Baby Boomers and Gen Xers tend to know C# and SQL. Gen Y knows Python, social media, and Hadoop.”

    These companies had the oldest workers by median age:

    • HP-41
    • IBM Global Services – 38
    • Oracle – 38
    • Dell – 37
    • Nokia – 36
    • Sony – 36
    • Cisco – 35

    And these companies had the youngest:

    • Epic Games – 26
    • Facebook – 28
    • Zynga – 28
    • Google – 29
    • Blizzard Entertainment – 30
    • InfoSys – 30
    • – 30

    Just more reason to resolve to learn a new skill. My colleague Don Tennant, however, a while back interviewed Colleen Aylward, author of the book, “Bedlam to Boardroom: How To Get a Derailed Executive Career Back on Track.” She had some harsh words for older tech workers who like to blame age discrimination for their difficulty in getting a job. Among her advice:

    Lose weight, get a tan, start working out. … if you’ve let your body atrophy, then we just assume you’ve let your mind atrophy. If you take a while, and huff and puff to get across the room, can you really work in an agile environment?

    Yet she adds:

    …this demographic between 50 and 65 is still a huge demographic with a huge footprint on the United States. Don’t be afraid of social media, don’t listen to the scare tactics.

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