Older IT workers passed over despite job surplus, workforce shortage

Regardless of the record-high numbers of IT job openings and a shrinking pool of qualified applicants, workers over the age of 45 are commonly passed over for IT jobs, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Across all occupations at U.S. companies, employees 45 and older comprise 44 percent of employees, according to CompTIA data cited by WSJ, while the same age group makes up only 38 percent of IT employees. Younger workers are disproportionately represented in the IT sector: Those aged 22 to 44 account for more than 60 percent of those jobs, compared to 49 percent of the entire American workforce.

The disparity can reportedly be attributed to a stagnancy in older tech workers' technical skills and their desire for compensation packages that match their number of years in the industry.

"More and more hiring managers associate technology innovation with youth," Martha Heller, CEO of tech recruiting firm Heller Search Associates, told WSJ. "Age bias is alive and well in technology recruiting."

In the current job market, companies searching for IT talent cannot afford to overlook older workers. Furthermore, hiring older employees can boost an organization's work in other, more qualitative ways: "A multigenerational technology team has often proven to be extremely valuable, as varying levels of experience only enhance their ability to problem solve and innovate," John Reed, executive vice president at staffing company Robert Half International, told WSJ.

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