Paypal had layoffs recently and I heard that most people were in their 40s. Is this a common tread at other companies? Doesn't this constitute as discrimination? I understand that older employees usually get paid more but still somehow I don't think this is right especially if they have invested most of their career at the place. Are there any ways to combat ageism during layoffs? Thoughts? I mean we are all going to get old some day whether we like it or not...
- Facebook ProbeWhy do you think I use skin care products and adhere to a strict diet? Solely to make sure I look like I'm in my 30s into my 50s to combat ageism.
- Why do people whine about getting socialist protections for jobs that pay few times the median income ?
- The very fact that somebody is paid few times the median income is that they have special/in-demand skills.
If those skills are no longer in-demand then why does that person need socialistic protection for that role with a high pay ?
If indeed those skills are in demand then it should not be difficult to get a job with high pay anyways.
I am for ageist, socialistic protection for jobs that pay around the median income.
Saying hey give me protection to keep earning few times the median income is on the lines (not equal though) of billionaires asking for tax cuts to remain billionaires
- Snapchat camera-coBecause the time to negotiate for unions/professional associations is now, when we're in a powerful position. Look at how lawyer pay has stagnated/declined over the last few decades whereas doctor pay remains high.
Restricting the qualifications necessary to become a software engineer is good for every existing software engineer.
- New 🍔 🍟Older employees are NOT usually paid more. Younger ones who job hop make more than old timers who are stuck in the same job.
- Better achieve financial independence before you’re 40. Brain gets slower with age. That said I still think age-based firing is a terrible practice.
- If you're under 40 then I assume you're trolling. If you're over 40 then perhaps YOUR brain slowed down. Don't assume everyone else's did.
Many elite athletes experience slower reflexes, less stamina, etc, starting in their 30s. But the rest of us do just fine.
If you don't believe me then pick up any popular science book and check the author's age. Most scientists don't even finish school until their upper 20s / lower 30s, and they often do their best work later in life.
- LinkedIn Rr333I'm also not talking about other professions. Tech will spit you out in your 40s unless you keep rising the ranks, or are a truly elite coder. I can't tell you how many times I heard the phrase "for 15 years of experience I expected better." for random algorithm problems that the candidate didn't get immediately perfect. Then pass on the candidate.
- @Rr333 you are proving my point — older candidates have problems getting hired because of stupid interview process and outright agism, not because their brains are slower. Also, CS fundamentals haven't changed that much. Binary trees are same binary trees as 50 years ago. It's just that most programming jobs don't require any hard CS, so you forget stuff you learned in college.
- Amazon SeCg34I was hired by Amazon at 50, still there and approaching late 50’s. I can assure you that my brain is actually faster now since it’s been challenged daily at work. However, I agree that the best approach is to save as much as you can and assume that you’ll run into issues by 55 if not earlier. Very few of the FANGs have many people my age. Amazon seems to be significantly better about it than most.
- Sounds like BS to me. I am in my late 50s and my boss (and his boss) are older. That said, I would try a lawsuit if it happened to me
- Juniper baileeAgeism is rampant in the Bay Area. Yes it's discrimination yes everyone knows about yes it still happens anyway and companies DGAF
- Lack of experience is destroying many companies! But how come many CEOs are over 50 and this crap is happening under their nose.
I think it’s more that people are complacent here and no one wants to rock the boat. Look at SF as a city, pretty soon people would have to wear masks not because of smoke because of disgusting smell of piss. Totally Gross!
- Walmart.com vLAp07This hit me when I entered my 40s. Stay fit, try looking "younger", network and most important have a skill that the industry wants. This can help extend your career; or at least that is my hope. Companies favor youth (which is good for our kids -- see it does help somewhere), but the openness with which it is done shocks me. I do not expect anything to change so keep your skills up-to date and network.Apr 170
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- I’m a millennial and find it disgusting. We will be there in a blink of an eye. I will not work for companies that have a sea of fresh faces; only diverse mixes.
I hope my fellow millennials have some sense of decency and feel the same (and just self-regard; like I say: we will be there shortly)Mar 1413
- Lyft zz7yqa45Ageism is real. Allow me to explain the hierarchy of hatred for The Olds in tech (anyone over 40).
1. Olds who can pass for young and can pretend they are drinking the koolaid, also ignore unforced errors by people half their age (won't protect in mass layoffs).
2. Olds who have interests and obligations outside of work. This category is especially hated in growth companies.
3. Olds who have the misfortune to have a sick kid or parent. This is the absolute lowest of the low, the most hated category of The Olds. If you are in this category, watch your back, learn about FMLA, and be ready to get fired at any time for any reason or no reason at all.
Ahhhhhh! The magic of at will employment.
Actually I misspoke. Olds with cancer are the worst. Just drop dead already and stop driving insurance rates up.
- As one of the older folks on Blind (64.. lol) I have one suggestion: don't talk a lot about what happened in the old days. Stay current. Anything that you did more than 10, 15 yrs ago is probably not super relevant anymore. It won't protect you from all ageist layoffs but it'll help. Anyway it's more interesting too 😁😁
- Really interesting question. Around 15 years ago I was an Oracle DBA on Unix and thought I would never want to go into mgmt. But time passed, I joined a different company, technology changed & I became a manager. All around I really like it. I have a great team and, though I don't go deep into any technical topics now, I do get to range pretty widely in helping team members deal with blockers etc. However, my ability to find a different job is probably less than it would be if I stayed pure technical. I'd say if you have any interest in mgmt and find an oppty, don't be afraid to go for it. You can probably do it for 3+ years before your ability to go back to individual contributor gets tough.
- Amazon qQTo52The impacted folks tend to have to sign away rights to sue to get severance which shuts down lawsuits. People also don’t want to sue because it will be public and fear future hiring discrimination based on causing trouble. In the end we’re all akin to pro ball players: make as much as you can while you can and have a plan B should this hit us.
- You can sign away your right to sue. Chances are you've done it many times without even realizing. Go read your cell phone contract. It probably says that by signing it you're agreeing to have disputes solved through arbitration.
Many employers do it too (I'm not sure about Amazon; Microsoft does not).
It's pretty standard for severance packages to require that you give up your right to sue. There are special rules for people over 40, but at the end of the day if you willingly accept the severance package (meaning the employer didn't bully you or scare you into signing it) then it becomes very, very hard to win a lawsuit.
BTW, I'm not an attorney but as a disabled person I have more familiarity than I'd like with anti-discrimination laws. Thankfully, I've never had to sue, but I have had to stand up for my rights many times.
Sadly, most of those times happened at Microsoft. The company provides a lot of anti-discrimination training, but most of it is focused on hot button social issues (minorities, LGBTQ employees, etc). Unfortunately I've hardly seen any training on ageism or people with disabilities.
- It is illegal under federal law for an employer to ask you to waive the right to sue for discrimination against a federally protected group. You also can't be held to a NDA if you are reporting a crime.
Even if you sign such a doc, you can file a complaint with the eeoc and after 90 days they will issue you a right to sue letter and you can file in federal court. The court will throw out part or all of any agreement that includes a convenient not to sue for discrimination. The only way to wave this right is to reach a settlement that is approved by a judge.
You can sign away a lot of other rights and agree not to sue for other things but a doc that says you agree not to sue because of discrimination is not a valid contract. The company may use a document that says that you agree that there has been no discrimination and then try to use that against you if you file a lawsuit but this has been largely recognized as intimidation and not valued much as I understand.
Just as a note companies love to get employees to sign things that are not legally binding. Most of the time the employee doesn't know and is too proud or afraid to get legal advice.
If you are ever in a office with hr and they are trying to get you to sign something before you leave rather than taking it home signing and returning in a week then there is a good chance it has a few clauses they don't want you to run past a lawyer.
- Amazon VpYJ78Americans have decided that unions are inevitably bad rather than conditionally good or bad, civic society has no consensus, and in the absence of a counterweight to unchecked regulatory capture, the ability to be legally protected as a group doesn't really exist unless it also has a strong cultural identity and politics associated with it.
Ie, you can discriminate against all the older employees or all the short employees or all the ugly employees because those groups aren't politically organized and don't seem to constitute a unifiable identity.
In the case of tech, statistically speaking, the majority of us are opposed to unions and suspicious of government regulation of company staffing policy, which works really well for us until it's our turn to be on the chopping block.
Nothing's going to change until we as developers think about our short and long term interests and act as a group. If we don't make sure that good devs who can do the work get a fair shot at every stage of our careers, then we'll have the worst of both worlds: in some places deadwood with obsolete skills will be protected, and in others great devs will be fired for having grey hair.
- I'm 39 now and I'm pretty sure if my company decided to lay off 90% of the dev team, I'd not get the axe. Just be better than your peers. Nobody fires their MVPs
- I feel as software engineering is entering the new era, we need to constantly keep learning. If I spend a long time at a place that doesn’t secure my place, because the incoming new grad is well versed in technologies that are entering the market now.
I believe if I cope up with tech trends and spend 2 hours a day learning, it wouldn’t matter a decade later that I am old, I will be able to justify my high salary.
I feel companies execute such layoffs because they feel that older employees with high salaries are not contributing enough to justify the high pays!
- It has nothing to do with keeping current. That's a given requirement. Its about companies wanting the cheapest labor than can get sacrificing knowledge and experience for the mighty dollar.
- Micron BDJO24When I’ve seen it, it’s typically because old timers aren’t keeping up with the new technology and automating things. It’s becoming harder for me to change as I enter that age group too. Sigh.
- BlueSky Technology Partners Bcws66When you are young, you are living in the zeitgeist by default. As you get older, your peer group changes, you don’t have 24 hours a day to devote to something single-mindedly, not to mention your perception of time changes and one day, you find that you’ve fallen behind and you never even saw it happening Hell, you may even think you’re on top of it.
What older workers bring, though, is experience solving problems, deep institutional knowledge, and a balance to their work. What young workers bring is energy and new perspective. Companies should be pairing young and old and if where you work is getting rid of older workers carte blanche, that company isn’t worth one more minute of your life. They don’t give a shit about you.Mar 242
- Well said bcws66. I’m not near 40 closer to millennial age. One key skill I use is staying tech savvy and agile but with age comes experience when and how to apply my knowledge. I watch young people burn time and energy designing a tool improperly that’s implemented poorly that solves the wrong problem. My age:experience has me zeroing in on problems and solutions faster than the age groups above and below me.Mar 250
- If PayPal did layoffs where older employees were affected at a much higher rate than their ratio at the company then they would have a good case for discrimination even without other evidence. Certainly enough to sue and get all docs emails ims and anything else related to the layoffs. PayPal would be stupid to open the door to that type of liability. It wouldn't even matter if they got every one to sign a doc saying they wouldn't sue. You can sign away decimation claim rights.
- New stuY15I've worked at some of the biggest tech companies and I worked at one of them since it was a startup.
My observation is that there is a very large spread between talented engineers and downright fucking idiots. As we get older the dummies start falling out. They get burned out, they change careers but some continue in survival mode, hiding, dodging, politicking until their late 30s when shit slowly begins to float to the surface. These are the guys who get laid off.
So if you're in your 20s or 30s and went into this racket to get rich quick but you hate coming to work, this is the time to make a change or you'll end up laid off in your 30s-40s. Do what you love, you will be better at it.
- Actually within the last few years, the US Supreme Court ruled that to be considered discrimination, you have to prove ageism is the primary cause ( https://www.forbes.com/sites/nextavenue/2017/07/13/the-supreme-court-turns-its-back-on-age-discrimination/#f7b6ffc1a038 ). This has made it next to impossible to get a case to trial since lawyers don’t want to take the case. As an over 50 program manager who was laid off with a lot of other older employees, this is a hard reality in the valley. Many companies are also using hiring practices to avoid employing anyone who has been out of school for many years. I routinely get questions that I could have easily answer when I came out of school but now would need to look up since I haven’t used that knowledge in the 20+ years since school. Sad but true......
- SpaceX uevh5Exactly. In the real world you have a non-zero chance to win only if your age was constantly brought to light in conversations or there was blatant discrimination (and you have proof) or if they canned only the old guys and left the young. But people has lost lawsuits even in these cases
- Amazon doesn’t have to do it because they hire 95% young. Is that illegal? YES. I’m 60 and only got in because they needed a very specific skill set. They got what they needed and dumped me. Illegal. YES. Any
One want to join my class action lawsuit for age discrimination? I am working with top tier attorneys in Boston. FYI, while at AMZN I never met anyone else over 60. I met only 2 people over 50. Illegal? Yes. Amazon is the school yard bully.
- @woopsy no that is not the definition of at will employment.
At-will employment confers rights on both sides: employee and employer may end the job whenever they want, AND also means that anti-discrimination laws are followed.
Hiring managers unable to make a distinction between an a legal at-will lay-off and discrimination of a protected class is precisely the problem.
- @EMVH32 how isn’t it the definition of at will employment?
How do “anti-discrimination laws are followed” prevents from letting go someone when you don’t need them anymore?
I just went through the usual “managing within the law” training last week and I can’t see how it would be a problem: the discrimination seems only to be a case if you differentiate based on a protected criteria.
If you let go equally employees when you don’t need them anymore you should be fine
- I think if you're over 40 but you're still hungry, you either don't get laid off or, if you do, don't have a lot of problems landing another job. However if you're not hungry, then you're more likely to get the axe and, if you do, you have a much harder time finding something else because the lack of motivation shows. Then you start complaining in online forums, blaming management, blaming ageism, blaming H1Bs, talking about lawsuits, unions, etc. You basically blame everyone but yourself.
- I agree it exists, but there are two stereotypes for old people. One is the low energy, stuck in the past old person. The other is Gandalf. Nobody ever thinks about firing Gandalf from the team as he's better than everybody else. So people have to aim to be a Gandalf, or they'll be seen as the other guy.Mar 192
- @square I am not saying ageism, sexism or racism aren’t problems in our society. I’m saying focus, work hard, keep learning new skills, stay positive and good things will happen.
I have 2 women friends in their late 50s. Mid level managers, good at what they did. Laid off because the entire group was let go. No fault of their own.
One decided to retire. I’ve been trying to find the other a gig, however she seems to go into every interview thinking she’ll never be hired because she’s a woman and she’s too old. Messed up, and it becomes self-fulfilling.
That’s the kind of defeatism I’m talking about and want to stay away from.
- To assume older employees are being let go because they probably lost their fire or don’t want to/ haven’t sharpened their skills is ageism. There are plenty of the younger set who are in this category, but they’re often seen as fresh and go getters. Older employees are often pushed out because they cost more than younger employees, not just in salary.
A company/team that doesn’t have ageism issues values the depth of knowledge and experience those with longer careers bring with them and help them keep focused on where they can best supplement their skill set, if they aren’t regularly doing this on top of their regular contributions. It also values what the mix of a team of people with various levels of experiences and skill sets who work together well can do.Mar 200
- Athenahealth 3_14159> @square I am not saying ageism, sexism or racism aren’t problems in our society. I’m saying focus, work hard, keep learning new skills, stay positive and good things will happen.
@hmbsjc1, ageism, sexism, and racism are problems literally in that focus, hard work, new skills, and positivity may not make the good things happen.Apr 180
- Tyler Technologies RGOd34Older people tend to be more expensive because they’ve progressed in their career more.
- If they know COBOL they should move to Tampa and take a job at DTCC. Their COBOL Devs are literally dying off and they pay the local universities to run courses in it.
And since Wall Street and the big Banks are highly unlikely to just replace their entire back end transactional processing system, it's great job security.
- I'm a director used to lead 20+ engineering teams. I ditched all this management shit at the age of 48 and joined a small startup as an IC and a lead of a small team. Startup flopped when I was 49. I was on the market for less than 24 hours. Joined a pre-IPO startup as the IC and a lead of a small team. Happy to report TC but how do you folks calculate it for a pre-IPO company?
- Age does matter, actually :-) one of the CEOs interviewing me told me blatantly straight: I hired these kids and they built a product only they consider product, its a shitty prototype. Now I need grown ups to make it an actual product.
I didn't take the job, that was a little to much honesty for me :-) but duly noted.Mar 202
- Most competent HR departments will make sure the mix is just right so that the average age of the layoff pool is under 40, racially ambiguous, and 50/50 gender split. When GM had theirs a month ago and there were 9 different metrics disclosed as proof there was no discrimination or favoritism of any kind.
Unfortunately that kind of over managed shit show caused us to lose a good number of older, well paid, but very talented people.
- Microsoft tech.ladkiCould old people be in the layoffs by correlation and not causation?
If the layoffs were by the makes the highest pay?
- Technically yes but one could say they intentional picked that criteria because it ties to older employees and have enough to force a fairly invasive discovery and PayPal better hope there are no emails from anyone who could even be construed as a decision maker that says something like older people make more or a chart that shows average sal by age.
- Gartner FrmGartnerI was laid off from Gartner. Vast majority on the list were over 40 and a lot spent 20 to 30 years there. They do not care about you.
- Palo Alto Networks ftyrioI have not experienced this at all. my 40’s were the most successful time. I am in high demand for my skills. Software engineer have a unemployment number less than 1%, great pay, tons of respect by employers. I think “ageism” is way overhyped. Could it happen? sure, but that is not the normal case. In this economy, anyone being laid off is because of skill/productivity issue. Stop whining and improve your skills.
- In young people's defense, today's fresh graduates are really, really talented compared to past decades. Twenty years ago I got a professional white collar job thanks to being a STEM major, speaking three languages, being able to write basic HTML, and having a 3.1 GPA from my state school. Worked in the university cafeteria and at a batting cage during the summers. That would get someone laughed out of the building today.
- People over 40 are protected from age discrimination. As an employer myself, this can be tricky when there are areas where an older employee may not be as enthusiastic or productive as a younger employee in the same position, but get paid considerably more. A big employer like PayPal most likely got plenty of counsel before making such a move. Also tenured laid off employees often get attractive exit packages to soften the blow. Discrimination is more evident if soon after a lay-off a younger employee is put in the same position.
The best way to keep a job in long term is to continue to add value to the company, add expertise, and/or be willing to relocate or change jobs as the company’s needs change.
- I wholeheartedly disagree that over 40 is less enthusiastic or productive. This statement in and of itself is discriminatory. While some may get lackadaisical, this is not a fact (and I happen to know a hirer percentage of lazy youngsters in corporate America than those of us who have earned our higher pay based on proven skills and advanced experience).
I would also note for some other commenters that over 40 does not simply get paid more because we are older, it’s because we have EARNED it by proving ourselves.
And not everyone is content to stay in the same role/company just because they make enough money.
- Facebook RazPutin@gTuR87 Agreed.
> The best way to keep a job in long term is to continue to add value to the company, add expertise, and/or be willing to relocate or change jobs as the company’s needs change.
This is the important bit. If you can't add value, why should your employer pay you? This is fundamentally what it comes down to.
- Gtur87- I get your point. Note I didn’t say that over 40’s are less enthusiastic or productive- just those who are may be protected. I’m 50 and busier and more enthusiastic than ever. And I definitely see a lot of lazy youngsters too. I’ve got a 60+ colleague who has tons of experience but not enthusiastic about the long term of the company, for obvious reasons. And it shows up in his productivityMar 240
- I was at a company that did a huge layoff - 50% of eng and product. No one over 40 remained employed.
- VMware BiggySmlzNo, age related layoffs are protected so it doesn't matter. It is too easy to exploit young workers who fearing loss of income accept bad management demands. More experienced workers speak up, and while hard to distinguish between lazy and experienced you should err on the conservative analysis.
- Microsoft MxsWci156Spent 6 years at IBM and the problem is real. There were folks who were simply not motivated, very happy with their existing pay checks. Becoz Ibm doesn’t have an up or out policy, there were some folks who spent 10-12 years happily at the same band level.... doing the same thing over and over again. I don’t think companies can be blamed.. especially if they are targeting these type of people that I’m talking about... and they are in abundance at ibm.
- Basically what ends up happening is that the next downturn hits, revenue shrinks, execs look for fat to trim and the old unmotivated folks get let go.
I had this happen to a buddy. Zero motivation, no real skills other than sitting in meetings, was laid off at age 57.
The last 5-6 years he’s been sitting at home and watching Fox News all day.
- Amazon gmniIt is not always about age.. it is about attitude and TC. You replaced someone older because they had a ‘settled in the role/org’ attitude and the management thought they were too costly for the team. Solution - replace them with someone younger who has a go getter attitude and will be relatively cheaper to hire.
- Also I am curious as to why it doesn't affect people in managerial roles? Is it because it's harder to replace managers?
- The employer’s reasons for layoffs cannot in any way relate to the worker’s gender, race, religion, disability or age. In some states, employers also cannot make layoff decisions based on sexual orientation or other characteristics. When making layoff decisions, it’s best to use criteria that are not related to any legally protected class
- BlackRock xisIts hard to prove they replaced you with someone. Let alone replaced you with someone younger. Only the firm has that data. The official reason for layoff is “this position is no longer required...”
Limited arbitration does not allow extensive discovery of information. Most employment contracts have a provision to not allow you to file any lawsuit let alone a class action.
Its sad but corporations will get away with this. But then again the people make up a firm. So people are ageist, corporation as an entity expresses this bias.
- I have another observation: one of the reasons of this ageism is threads like that (everywhere from HN to Blind, Linkedin, you name it).42 year old reads it, tellsnthemself ”shit I need to man up and become a manager”, and that's how a decent eng becomes shitty mgr. When the time comes he is first to go.
I have a management background, and went back to almost IC, because it suck folks. It's a shitty job to do. You've built a team, you did great together, now it's the rainy day and you need to decide which of your friends needs to go: best eng in your team, single, citizen, or a L1 visa eng who does so-so, has 2 kids and is going back to his ”shithole” country, as our Fearless Leader says.
If you don't like it, rinse and repeat. You have a 20+ team.
Also, management is a service job. Like janitor. Engs create product, we managers serve them. Yes, top brass gives us a hand job with titles and packages, but when the rain starts to pour...
- Microsoft was subject to different lawsuits so they handled their ageism layoffs differently and instead targeted people they wanted to leave and made their work lives difficult. It saved them from some severance packages and made it more difficult for employees to bring a class action. They did this by doing things like taking managers and reorging them under more junior managers and requiring the long time employees to now perform work they either haven’t done in a long time, or never done, but not giving any ramp up time with managers who knew less than them. So this made it easier for them to treat the long time employees as if they were under performing then tank their reviews, not promote them, etc. and eventually employees left on their own or stayed long enough to be fired or laid off, but now their records weren’t as great so there was more of a case for their lay off. I know several people who went through this.
I hear it’s better now.