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Ageism, Tech, and Balancing Culture

30-second read (+watch the video: 2:13)

Access to entry is an undeniable issue in the tech industry, with a large percentage of the opportunities going to a select group of homogenous candidates.

And startups, especially those in competitive tech hubs, can struggle with this––notably when it comes to recruiting and hiring “older” people.

I don’t think this is intentional.

I think that this is more a result of poor TA processes and lacking the organizational self-awareness to step back, look at, and address this issue.

There’s a lot of diversity talk in the startup space. And age needs to be part of that conversation.

In tech, there's a big need for:

  • More balanced cultures
  • Diversity of thought and political/social perspectives
  • A wider generational spectrum

These things will only make companies better.

Widening access can mean valuing skill and character over resume. It can mean fostering career pivots and professional reinventions.

Regardless, it means that many tech startups need to change the way they recruit.

I get it, for some roles boxes have to be checked.

But generally speaking, startups can do a better job of intentionally building cultures that provide opportunities to more than Millennials and Gen Z.

I never want to call out a problem that we’re not working to fix ourselves. Here are some of the ways that we’re intentionally hiring in order to create a balanced culture:\

  1. We used an ad spot on a politically diverse newsletter to source candidates who hold a variety of opinions and perspectives.
  2. We source outside of our own Bay Area “backyard”. Being a fully remote team, we have team members in CA, CO, GA, TX, OH, FL, WA, and even international.
  3. We heavily weigh entrepreneurial endeavors (successful or not) over resumes.
  4. Without giving specific examples, we give people a shot. Like legit opportunities to reinvent themselves professionally.
  5. We have men and women on our team who span generations. At 42, I am no longer our oldest employee.