The latest Harvey Nash Technology Survey 2018 has been released today and finds that once workers hit the big 4-0, their perceived future career success takes a nosedive. Thirty three per cent of tech professionals aged 40-44 worry their age will negatively impact their chances of future career success.
By the time they hit 45, almost half of tech professionals (46%) take a negative view of their age when it comes to future career success. This is significantly more than those who report age to have no effect (32%) or a positive effect (22%) on their future chances.
The younger generation is not immune from ageism either: 28% of 18-24-year-old tech workers believe their age works against them. This is in sharp contrast with their 25-29 year old peers of which 9% believe it will reduce their prospects of success; the vast majority (63%) sees their age as a positive force.
The survey found that 45+ year old professionals that worked for ‘very innovative’ organisations were less likely to feel their age has a negative effect: 55% compared to 61% of all respondents of that age group overall.
The biggest age insulation factor is job role, especially where long-term experience and deep expertise are highly valued. Tech professionals who are involved in management (CIOs, CTOs or development managers) or who have Gandalf-style roles (architects, support engineers) see their careers much less affected by age. The survey showed that a technical architect will have to wait until their late fifties before age becomes a negative influence.
When professionals actively invest their own money in courses or training, the overall proportion of those feeling ‘age negative’ goes down to 55% compared to 61% overall. Despite having significantly less disposable income than their older peers, a third of those in their twenties pay for courses out of their own pockets (35% aged 18-24; 33% aged 25-29). Not surprisingly, 44% of 45-49 year olds do so, which can be attributed to them enjoying the highest median income of all those surveyed.
Managing Director at Harvey Nash Ireland, Sonya Curley said, "It’s shocking that nearly a third of young adults (18-24) feel their age works against them in the workplace. They might be described as the snowflake generation but our research shows that they are taking responsibility for their professional growth by reading and paying for courses themselves."
She added, "There is something to be said for employers to be more forthcoming with courses and training that will enable these young people to grow into the type of job roles - management or highly experienced Gandalf-style roles - that protect against ageism in later life."