As technology progresses, it’s common for young people to be more adept at using it than older people. We’ve all seen parents post videos of their children using smartphones or tablets at two years old, or we have heard people complain about having to teach their older relatives how to use computers, email, etc. When people grow up with technology, it’s easier for them to grasp it.
So, as you go to hire someone for a tech-based position, does that mean you should target the youngest workers that you can?
While this may make sense from a practical standpoint, it could also be viewed as age discrimination or ageism. This is a big issue for workers, as reports have claimed that “fears of ageism are endemic within the tech industry.” Workers who are over 40 want to know that they have a fair chance to land jobs and that the rapid development of technology will not mean they have no options in a few years.
As a company owner, the thing to remember is that age alone cannot be your qualifier. You need to judge workers based on their skills and qualifications.
That may mean that younger workers get these jobs more often. If you bring in a 45-year-old candidate and they cannot quickly use your computer interface, while a 23-year-old college grad already knows how to use it and is far more productive, it’s fine to hire that college grad. They showed more value to your company. But, in this example, you still gave the older worker a chance to show what they could do. You made your hiring based on ability, not based on the age you saw on the resume. That’s a big difference and can protect you from lawsuits.
That said, reports do show that lawsuits regarding age discrimination are growing more common. If you end up facing one, be sure you know what options you have to protect yourself and your company’s future.