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The Internet Education Government Software Technology

Online Job Sites May Block Older Workers (cnbc.com) 207

Joe_Dragon quotes a report from CNBC: Older Americans struggling to overcome age discrimination while looking for work face a new enemy: their computers. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan recently opened a probe into allegations that ageism is built right into the online software tools that millions of Americans use to job hunt. Separate research published recently by the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank found that in a widespread test using fabricated resumes, fictional older workers were 30 percent less likely to be contacted after applying for jobs. Fictional older women had it even worse, being 47 percent less likely to get a "callback." Several forces are conspiring to ensure that many Americans have to work well past the traditional retirement age of 65. People are living longer, their retirement savings are inadequate, and Social Security reforms are almost certainly going to require it. The San Francisco Fed says that the share of the older-65 working population is projected to rise sharply -- from about 19 percent now to 29 percent in the year 2060. Online job-hunting tools should be making things easier for older employment seekers, and it can. Indeed.com, which claims to list 16 million jobs worldwide, currently lists 158,000 openings under its "Part Time Jobs, Senior Citizen Jobs" category. Monster.com, which claims 5 million listings, has a special home page for "Careers at 50+." In other ways, however, online job sites can cut older workers out. Age bias is built right into their software, according to Madigan. Job seekers who try to build a profile or resume can find that it's impossible to complete some forms because drop-down menus needed to complete tasks don't go back far enough to let older applicants fill them out. For example, one site's menu options for "years attended college" stops abruptly at 1956. That could prevent someone in their late 70s from filling out the form. Madigan's office said it found one example that only accommodated those who had attended school after 1980, "barring anyone who is older than 52." Other sites used dates ranging from 1950 to 1970 as cutoffs, her office said. The Illinois' Civil Rights Bureau has opened a probe into potential violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act and the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Madigan's office has sent inquiry letters to six top jobs sites: Beyond.com, CareerBuilder, Indeed Inc., Ladders Inc., Monster Worldwide Inc. and Vault.
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Online Job Sites May Block Older Workers

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  • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

    Almost everything blocks older workers to some degree, usually significant.

    Just as we've been telling everyone for years.

    • Almost everything blocks older workers to some degree, usually significant.

      Just as we've been telling everyone for years.

      Good. It's better for me and the others who prefer hiring older employees. If the elder applicant is physically capable of performing the same task, even with with rather obvious experience benefit aside, older workers are less distracted, more likely to value their job, and less likely to be incapable of normal performance levels due to misadventure.

      • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
        Comparing a 16 year old to a 25+, yes. Comparing a 40 year old worker to a 60 year old worker, no. Those benefits you list are purely imaginary, and you should stop your illegal age discrimination.
      • incapable of normal performance levels due to misadventure.

        If you didn't lift that from Private Eye they should lift it from you.

        It means they're hungover, right?

        • It means they're hungover, right?

          Certainly one possibility, although a hot date. a Planet of the Apes marathon, or the release of a hot new game would be more likely to render a younger man unsuitable for work next day.

  • by msauve ( 701917 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @05:49PM (#54032923)

    "years attended college" stops abruptly at 1956

    Most people only go 2, 4, or 6, sometimes a couple more. I suppose not supporting people who have gone to college for 1957 years is age discrimination for someone, but even Methuselah only lived to be 969.

    • Pretty simple fix: leave the uni years off the CV. Or even better, if your profile is good enough, don't bother mentioning it at all.

      • The problem with that is that employers will do searches with criteria that you won't meed and/or filter inbound resumes with bots.
    • Re:Wow! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo&world3,net> on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @05:26AM (#54035271) Homepage Journal

      What possible reason could there be for asking this other than circumventing rules about not asking for the applicant's age/DOB so that they can age discriminate? What relevance does the date of when you studied have?

      Sites that ask for too much information are usually a waste of time. You spend ages filling it all in, only to help recruiters discriminate against you or just ignore it and send you stupid offers anyway.

  • the millennials might need a job. or not.
  • Age discrimination in general is a problem. This is not. If your formal education on basically any topic is more than 20 years old, it isn't relevant. It only makes sense to hire somebody like that if they have recent work history.
    • by jshark ( 623406 )
      wow. tone-deaf hipster much?

      A online data entry form demands the years you attended college - calendar years, not number of years. "Your" years aren't there. Your choices - Lie and say you went to college at a different time (good luck with the verification process), or omit college altogether because "it's more than 20 years old". Lie, get caught, get thrown out. Omit, don't make it past the first layer "they need this much education".
    • If your formal education on basically any topic is more than 20 years old, it isn't relevant.

      Tell me about it. I have a cousin who graduated with a history BA in 1996. Turns out it's all bollocks - Martin Luther was Buddhist and Germany won WW1.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      LOL. Let's see. My formal education taught me how electromagnetics work. With math even. So now every time someone wants their WiFi to work, guess who they ask? No one cares how old Maxwell is now. His equations are the shit. I also learned how to root cause a problem and develop proofs from first principles. So when people can't figure out why their code doesn't work, guess who they ask to help? Even though I've never seen their code before?

      I could go on, but suffice it to say that if 20 years on

  • rampant (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 13, 2017 @06:17PM (#54033115)

    As over 50 the discrimination is rampant.
    If you're over 50 they find an excuse to get rid of you.
    Everyone I know was gotten rid of with extreme prejudice at that age.

    Nothing is being done about it and it is never taken up by media or the political parties and yet next to ethnic discrimination the single largest discrimination issue in this country.

    I applied to many thousands of job and interviewed at hundreds before I got the handful of low paying positions that don;t even cover costs after fifty and I'm highly qualified for many types of work, am in good health, good personality, highly intelligent, and reasonable youngish looking for my age.

    I can only guess it is related to healthcare costs and that most positions ask for the moon these days.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've been 29 for most of a decade.

  • In some they don't like people who like team play. As that is because team players are more likely to join unions.

    Yes test like that for retail jobs but you do see them in office and tech jobs.

  • As an old (63) guy.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MpVpRb ( 1423381 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @07:27PM (#54033579)

    My main talent is using tools to solve problems

    Over the years, I have accumulated many tools..software development, circuit design, woodworking, metalworking, many construction skills, artistic skills and many more

    I'm still getting paid very well to write software and design circuits

    Young people ask.."how do you keep up on new languages?"

    I answer, I program in C and C++, it's the best choice for embedded systems. Wanna talk about learning?

    My latest project was on a new processor (~1900 page datasheet), a new OS, and 10-20 new components, communicating through nontrivial hardware adapters

    Yeah, I can keep up with the young guys

    It seems odd that they don't realize this

    • How can you create software without Ruby, The Cloud and 37 half-baked frameworks?

      Joking aside, C/C++ with a good understanding of hardware and operating systems is where older engineers shine. In fact, I'd say it's one of the few areas of software development where the term "engineer" is actually warranted. Anyone can lay 1000 layers of cruft onto a fast processor, cross their fingers and hope it works. Far fewer people can work close to the hardware, with limited resources, and take it from "it boots wi

      • by jittles ( 1613415 ) on Tuesday March 14, 2017 @08:45AM (#54036069)

        How can you create software without Ruby, The Cloud and 37 half-baked frameworks?

        Joking aside, C/C++ with a good understanding of hardware and operating systems is where older engineers shine. In fact, I'd say it's one of the few areas of software development where the term "engineer" is actually warranted. Anyone can lay 1000 layers of cruft onto a fast processor, cross their fingers and hope it works. Far fewer people can work close to the hardware, with limited resources, and take it from "it boots without emitting smoke" to "here is the API to our product". I think we are already at the point where the younger engineers are doing the boring, trendy work and the older guys are doing the fun, hard work. It's easy to find a job if you can do the latter. You don't even need to learn a new buzzword every week!

        Also, please get off of my lawn.

        Seriously. I write drivers that other developers at my company use to create products. They have to deal with UIs and all this other boring crap. It's not always easy to do a good UI, but it's literally just looking at someone's frameworks and emulating what you see. The real fun is manipulating the hardware. The crazy thing is that a lot of these fresh college grads don't even know how to do the work. I was at the tail end of people learning low level manipulation of data. Even people with recent computer engineering degrees don't understand a lot of bit manipulation tricks. It absolutely boggles my mind.

  • by rickb928 ( 945187 ) on Monday March 13, 2017 @07:40PM (#54033635) Homepage Journal

    I haven't put dates to my educational history in 20-+ years. I haven't included employment history further than 7 years for at least that long.

    Since employers aren't really permitted to ask your age (AEDA [eeoc.gov]), they shouldn't until it's time for as background check, and if they are big enough they should let HR/Personnel handle that information without revealing it to the hiring individual or team.

    Wow. This is an anti-discrimination class-action suit waiting for a sponsor. Forcing dates out of you is forced age disclosure, and illegal.

    Illegal. And it's not even new. Not surprising though.

  • Why don't all you old people start your own company and only hire old people? Those under 40 are not a protected class. With all the collective experience you would have you should be able to compete against the big boys.

  • The current mind set is that if it's NOT the end employer or a government agency just about anything is A-OK... It's never been tested in a court and until it is, private entities will continue to do as they damned well please. Hence Uber-gate like occurrences (I'm talking about running self operating machines without proper clearance "We don't HAVE to! Oops, yes we do. We're sorry").

    sigh, we seem to have lost the idea that just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

  • "Never attribute to malice that which may be adequately explained by incompetence:
    I believe in many cases this is likely not direct age discrimination but just naive, lazy programmers and lax QA testers.
    It's likely the drop down boxes are a result of developers given incomplete data sets and don't think far enough ahead, or don't care.
    I switched tech jobs at 50 with zero problems. The vast majority of my peers (director level and above tech management) are 40+. There's always room for good people.
  • The second they find out you're over 30 years old, your profile immediately disappears from their site.

Quark! Quark! Beware the quantum duck!

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