Thursday, February 10, 2011

Australia: Report on Age Discrimination in IT Industry

Australia's Information Technology Contracting & Recruiting Association (ITCRA) has issued a discussion paper on the information and communication technology industry's lacks of a strong representative mature age workforce, noting that the reasons are not as clear-cut as some have suggested in the past and basing programs on incorrect assumptions may do more harm than good. According to "Mature Age Workers in ICT: Foundations, Effects and Approaches to Ageism," ITCRA has identified a range of initiatives that ICT recruiters, employers and supporters can put in place to address ageism and other forms of discrimination. In addition, the paper suggests further research that will help to improve the quality of understanding in this field of discrimination.

Highlighting the disparity, while 46% of Australian workers are aged 25-44, 63% of the ICT workforce falls in this age range; 22% of all workers are 45-54, but only 18% of ICT workers are; and 18% of all workers are 55-64, only 7% of ICT workers are.
For recruiters, fair discrimination is part of the job—but it must navigate the legal passage between unlawful discrimination based on stereotyping and professionally finding the best person for the job by effectively assessing skills, talents and abilities.
And the report also suggests that older workers can help too, saying that the statistics suggest that rather than being a case solely of employers and recruiters discriminating against workers, workers may also be self-selecting to not continue working in ICT beyond "prime age" for a range of reasons.

Sources: Information Technology Contracting & Recruiting Association Media Release (February 8, 2011); ITWire "Wrinkles rankle recruiters" (February 8, 2011); Lifehacker "How Badly Do IT Employers Discriminate Against Older Workers?" (May 18, 2011)

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