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mikthe20

Older People In The Corporate Workplace - Where Are They?

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I've been self-employed 20 years, mainly with my own tech or consultancy businesses. Doing some consultancy for a large corporate now, after having been away from such businesses for many years. A few months have passed and they're talking about offering me a job, which I am vaguely considering as I'm getting older (40s), am a single dad, and, having had some tough years in business, the regular salary and good pension scheme is attractive. I've commented on here before about how bloody hard and long hours the (generally decent) staff work. However, what I've also noticed from visiting their offices around the country is that there are very few people 50+ in their employ. Pretty much the only ones are very senior management or a few secretaries who have been there for decades.

So, where did the oldies go?

[PS: I've decided I won't be taking the job anyway]

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I am an older person in the "corporate work space"

I watch in amazement as these young people "****** up" time and time again, when they could have just asked me how to do it right!

I don't care really, because that is not my job!

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I've been self-employed 20 years, mainly with my own tech or consultancy businesses. Doing some consultancy for a large corporate now, after having been away from such businesses for many years. A few months have passed and they're talking about offering me a job, which I am vaguely considering as I'm getting older (40s), am a single dad, and, having had some tough years in business, the regular salary and good pension scheme is attractive. I've commented on here before about how bloody hard and long hours the (generally decent) staff work. However, what I've also noticed from visiting their offices around the country is that there are very few people 50+ in their employ. Pretty much the only ones are very senior management or a few secretaries who have been there for decades.

So, where did the oldies go?

[PS: I've decided I won't be taking the job anyway]

When I started work in 1981 all the staff in my first office bar a few middle aged women and the management were under 30 and the majority under 25 so I am not sure if this is a recent phenomenon. Of course, one thing that always happens when you reach 50 is that you tend find yourself in a working world where most people in employment are younger than you. Corporate management generally ljke to employ younger people because they are cheaper, easier to control than older staff particularly as they often have debt or family commitments that means they need the job. That is probably one thing that has changed since the 1960s when the young were less likely to have debt and were much less cowed both in and out of the workplace.What has changed that situation I think is the modern higher education system which is now set up to ensure the young are loaded with debt before they even start work. As for the over 50s many simply get made redundant or take early retirement particularly in IT where the requirement to constantly retrain to catch each technological change grows wearisome after a while especially when it is often a case of dressing up old concepts in new clothes. There is something very depressing about having to test some new system or software product and to find it more bug ridden and with slower response times than something built 20 years ago.

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... Doing some consultancy for a large corporate now ...

... I've commented on here before about how bloody hard and long hours the (generally decent) staff work. ...

...

So, where did the oldies go?

Maybe they've all worked themselves to death?

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particularly in IT where the requirement to constantly retrain to catch each technological change grows wearisome after a while

or not, I learned Unix in the early 80s and have been living off it ever sense... kidz in offices think I've got some seriously mad skillz when I fire up vi to edit some config file. They are like rabbits caught in the headlamps when they see a little "$' sign winking at them.

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I work in one of the UK offices of a large multinational IT company. In my office, nearly all the staff are over 40, and at least a third are over 50. The company appears to recruit few young technical employees in the UK, preferring to recruit in India, Philipines, etc. for these roles.

I think there's a place for older IT workers in UK offices, provided they are prepared to keep on updating their skills (a lot aren't) and gaining experience. Having decades of experience does make for a better programmer, provided the programmer has kept up to date.

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IME the longer a company's been going the greater the number of older workers, especially in the public sector. Conditions are good so few people leave.

There are more over 50s than under 30s in my current company.

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I'd say public sector.

I doubt the pension will be that good as it'll be a DC fund.

Going back, its a bit like saying: 'Where are all the old EAs', or 'Where are all the old Comet shop assistants'

Some jobs are just BS and you'll only find the young and the dumb doing them.

Some jobs are young peoples domains - labouring, squaddy.

Some arn't - but they go to the skiiled, who tend to be older.

As an example in your work domain, look at the age of people involved with one of the hot skills areas at the moment - Erlang, big data, Riak and all that. Very few are under 35.

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or not, I learned Unix in the early 80s and have been living off it ever sense... kidz in offices think I've got some seriously mad skillz when I fire up vi to edit some config file. They are like rabbits caught in the headlamps when they see a little "$' sign winking at them.

Nothing like a blank screen and a prompt to induce panic in those brought up on Windows.

You are about core skills being the key to survival.

If you know your way around an IBM mainframe. a Unix box and a Windows server you have a huge head start over the competition.

Ironically the recent rise in popularity in NOSQL databases means that I am one of the few people in my office who has worked on their predecessors back in the day before relational databases became popular.

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Nothing like a blank screen and a prompt to induce panic in those brought up on Windows.

Thank god or I'd be eating at the food bank!

Last company I worked at full time was like Logan's Run... even the project managers were under 30... and a right hash they made of most of the projects. That said, there were some very good youngsters at the firm but also a lot of unmotivated people who'd drifted into a tech career due to watching too much IT Crowd or something and were not really cut out for it. Those people were largely skiving until they could get on the management track.

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Thank god or I'd be eating at the food bank!

Last company I worked at full time was like Logan's Run... even the project managers were under 30... and a right hash they made of most of the projects. That said, there were some very good youngsters at the firm but also a lot of unmotivated people who'd drifted into a tech career due to watching too much IT Crowd or something and were not really cut out for it. Those people were largely skiving until they could get on the management track.

it has always been a bizarre feature of IT that if you are crap technically you wind up in management rather than being sacked

As a consequence huge numbers of projects are run by people who don't really know anything about how IT systems work

At my place NOSQL and Big Data is suddenly all the rage and the management now want to chuck away two decades of development on relational databases so they can rebuild half the systems from scratch. As someone who remembers cutting their programming teeth on hierarchical and networked databases I like to give them a reality check by explaining that building running and maintaining such systems is way, way harder than they realise and requires programmers with real skills to make it work . The type of response I get is neatly summed up in this video

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The great thing about IT is that old skills never go to waste. Only takes about twenty years for managers to want to go back to the same old crap their predecessors abandoned in favour of the new shiny.

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The great thing about IT is that old skills never go to waste. Only takes about twenty years for managers to want to go back to the same old crap their predecessors abandoned in favour of the new shiny.

Ace! Can't wait to install Plan9 over my Windows server boxes.

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Ace! Can't wait to install Plan9 over my Windows server boxes.

With a bit of luck Hurd will be finished just when it comes back into fashion.

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Thanks for the responses guys - looks like it's very much dependent on the organisation.

Spot on.

I don't work in anything related to IT, but I've worked at several multinationals over the years and they have all been different.

Some great, some shockingly badly run.

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Ace! Can't wait to install Plan9 over my Windows server boxes.

isnt that from outer space?

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Spot on.

I don't work in anything related to IT, but I've worked at several multinationals over the years and they have all been different.

Some great, some shockingly badly run.

A mate of mine is a Manager in a well known PLC...he'll typically only hire dolly burds between 18 to 25...

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The great thing about IT is that old skills never go to waste. Only takes about twenty years for managers to want to go back to the same old crap their predecessors abandoned in favour of the new shiny.

When I started in IT the goal posts shifted ever year if not 6 months, but the last 7 or 8 there really hasn't been the same massive shifts. I've done the same thing at this job for the last 8 years I can get plenty of jobs doing the same thing for a very good salary, that would have been impossible 10-15 years ago.

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The great thing about IT is that old skills never go to waste. Only takes about twenty years for managers to want to go back to the same old crap their predecessors abandoned in favour of the new shiny.

Not that qualified to comment here because I am pretty IT illiterate. But I know somebody who was in an IT department and he feels the skills that he possessed say twenty years ago, which were considered pretty advanced back then, are now skills that are basic requirements for any employee.

When I started work in 1980, unbelievably word processor typists received high remuneration. We are all lightening word processors now, but back then it was a rare skill. Ordinary typing on conventional typewriters was considered easy, I doubt there would be many who could use a manual one now. In the same way IT skills , except crashmonitor, may have become more universal.

I think a lot of knowledge has been lost by the reliance on computers conversely. My partner works in an accounts department and I get the impression that due to programmes none of the staff are particularly numerate or have a basic understanding of accountancy and would not have the first clue about putting a set of accounts together manually. Just cogs in a computer programme. I'm still a dinosaur that puts accounts together in my head using pencil and paper.

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