New Economy, Old Bias

April 23, 2001 ( - Two-thirds of technology workers over the age of 45 say age discrimination is a significant problem in their field, according to a recent survey by

The January 2001 survey, which polled 1,027 technology workers, found that almost a third of respondents have witnessed or experienced a workplace incident they classified as age bias, while a quarter said they’d feel uncomfortable letting a co-worker know their age.

However, younger workers felt that older workers are just as likely to discriminate against younger workers as they are to be discriminated against, specifically:

  • almost three-quarters of technology workers between the ages of 18 to 34 years, and
  • more than 60% of those between 35 and 44, felt this way.

When questioned on the ages of the people they supervised:

  • only 1% would rather report to a younger boss,
  • almost half of those under 35 would rather work for an older manager,
  • while just over 10% of those 45 or older wanted to report to a senior.

Age on wage

Though similar studies suggest that older technology workers earn less than younger ones, the survey found that younger workers were six times as likely as those in the 45 – 54 age group, to contend that older workers make more.

Younger workers also reason that in the cases where they do earn more, it is usually because they are more likely to change jobs for a pay rise than older workers are.

While most participants used the words “older” and “senior” to describe a tech worker aged 40 to 45, workers older than 65 were likely to classify an “older” technology professional as someone between the ages of 46 and 55.