Impact of Age on Information Technology Salaries

Impact of Age on Information Technology Salaries

Jing Quan (Salisbury University, USA), Ronald Dattero (Southwest Missouri State University, USA) and Stuart D. Galup (Florida Atlantic University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-962-5.ch021
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Abstract

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the United States of America reported in 2002 that age discrimination was its fastest-growing complaint. This chapter examines the treatment of information technology professionals using the Human Capital Model. The model results suggest that age treatment discrimination exists but varies across industries and job functions. The authors present explorative theories to explain why such variations exist and draw managerial implications based on the results.
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Introduction

In a tough economic environment, managers are often forced to reduce employment and older workers are often the easy targets. Accordingly, discriminating practices based on age is more widespread than ever (Lucas & Keegan, 2008). Specifically, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) of the United States of America (U.S.A) reported in Fiscal Year 2008, that the EEOC received 24,582 charges of age discrimination, which represents an increase of almost 74% over 1999. The EEOC resolved 21,415 age discrimination charges in FY 2008 and recovered $82.8 million in monetary benefits for charging parties and other aggrieved individuals (not including monetary benefits obtained through litigation). A March 11, 2009 Wall Street Journal article (Levitz and Shishkin, 2009) shows that overall employment discrimination complaints are also at a record high -- up 15% to 95,402 complaints -- the most dramatic increase was in the age-related complaints, the EEOC said. In the case of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., where in recent weeks at least 98 laid-off employees have filed complaints with that state's Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the EEOC, alleging that they were targeted in a mass layoff because of their age. (Levitz and Shishkin, 2009)

The age discrimination lawsuit brought by a 54 year former employee against Google just before its highly publicized initial public offering (IPO) highlights the issue (USA Today, 2004).

The state appeals court in California has reinstated an age-discrimination lawsuit against Google Inc. that was brought by a former technology manager who claimed Google fired him because he was not a “cultural fit.” (Rosencrance, 2007). Further, older workers say they get little encouragement from their firms to keep working and have been denied promotion opportunities (The Conference Board, 2003).

By no means is age discrimination found only in the U.S.A. In fact, managers in other parts of the world seem more candid about admitting that they engage in discriminatory practices. For example, a recent survey in the United Kingdom revealed that as many as six out of ten employers prefer not to recruit staff beyond the age of 35 and that up to 40 per cent of companies admit to practicing ageism (OECD, 2002). Further, older workers are often discriminated against in the recruitment processes through the implicit or explicit use of age limits in specific occupations.

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