The purpose of this speech is to bring awareness about agism in the cybersecurity industry. Ageism is still an issue in all industries especially tech industries and there some workers have worried about losing their job because of this.
According to a report from the job-hiring website, Indeed, “43 percent of respondents said they are worried about losing their job because of their age.” (Mukherjee ‘REPORT: Ageism in the Tech Industry’ 2019) Ageism is still an issue that is happening today. I will be talking about discrimination against the aging population in the cybersecurity field. Being a Security degree at Slippery Rock university I had to take classes in the cybersecurity area and gained knowledge about this industry. This is a relevant to young professionals to have knowledge about this topic for your future careers. The main points that I will be talking about is what ageism is, Ageism in the cybersecurity and technology field and what we can do to help prevent ageism. Let’s start with the basics what is ageism?
According to World health organization, Ageism is the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people based on their age (‘Ageism’ 2019) Why is ageism a problem? Who is affected by ageism? The answer to this question is yes ageism is a problem.
Ageism is widespread and an insidious practice which has harmful effects on the health of older adults. (‘Ageism’ 2019) Ageism can affect any group, but often affects those who appear to be too young and inexperienced, and those who physically appear old.
Effects that are associated with agism.
- Ageism has real mental and physical health consequences.
- Some examples of effects would be an increased stress, depression and decreased productivity. (Seegert, Seegert, ‘How ageism can negatively affect the health of older adults’ 2016)
In many cultures, elders are held in high regard as a source of wisdom, is that the case in the technology industry.
Ageism affect on employees within the technology and cyber security field. Discrimination and bias are still major problems in tech, according to a new study from Dice diversity and inclusion survey. (SwannerJune ‘Ageism Still a ‘Major’ Problem in Tech: Dice Survey’ 2018) Some 68 percent of Baby Boomers say they’re discouraged from applying for jobs due to age. Around 40 percent of those who belong to Generation X feel ageism is affecting their ability to earn a living. According to the dice survey (SwannerJune ‘Ageism Still a ‘Major’ Problem in Tech: Dice Survey’ 2018) According to this graph these are the most common discriminations in the tech and cyber industry. 29 percent of all respondents say they’ve “experienced or witnessed” ageism in their current workplace or most recent employer. (SwannerJune ‘Ageism Still a ‘Major’ Problem in Tech: Dice Survey’ 2018) Age has been said to be in the ‘silent career killer’ in the tech industry. But employers must realize that diversity of thought – as well as experience – is critical for all organizations to thrive. We just learned about the study of the older generation with ageism but what about the youth do they have ageism towards them?
The reason that technology wants to hire younger professionals rather than older. Since the Tech industry is growing fast, they want young people or recent grads to be working at the company. Cyber threats are developing at rapid pace and is in demand for individuals with a modern understanding these threats and have knowledge about how to prevent them.
Two reasons for hiring young professionals rather than older individuals
- a. Younger professionals are typically cheaper than older professionals.
i. Younger professionals have less experience
ii. The older professionals have more experience which means they want higher pay
- b. The other reasons are that younger professional and recent grad are more experienced with new technologies and are aware of new cyber threats. It’s well known that the cyber security industry is facing skills gap. What can we do to prevent ageism?
There are many ways that we can help to prevent this discrimination.
Employees or candidates need to stand up from their self’s, if they are feeling discriminated against. Know your rights. Companies can start mentoring programs. Mentoring programs and career development opportunities are a very valuable for all ages. This can help to pass down the knowledge of the older generation in the field to the younger generation and the younger generation. Then it can work in reverse and the younger generation can teach the older generation about new technologies and cyber issues.
This can also combat workplace bias. To combat ageism involves all parties to ensure that there are equal opportunities.
When I was doing my research, ageism can start decreasing in this industry and all industries when more people realize the value that age diversity in a workforce brings, then we can start to see some progress. Now ageism cannot be diminished overnight, it will be a slow process, but we must start somewhere.
According to an article I read, rejecting ageism states “As this population is growing, so are the challenges to the fundamental human rights of older individuals. Taking population trends into account suggests that there is a compelling need to address ageism, stereotypes about ageism, and gaps in protections for what is estimated to be one in five people in the world have experience ageism” (Juneau Gary, PsyD & Rubin, PhD, ABPP ‘Rejecting ageism: Psychological perspectives and international human rights law’) Let’s help to end the discrimination against individuals age in the workplace.
- “Ageism.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 14 Mar. 2019, https://www.who.int/ageing/ageism/en/.
- Editor. “Ageism in the Tech Industry & Other Bias. Let’s Fight ‘Em All – ITSPmagazine ITSPmagazine: At the Intersection of Technology, Cybersecurity, and Society.” ITSPmagazine, ITSPmagazine, 28 Dec. 2016, https://www.itspmagazine.com/from-the-newsroom/ageism-in-the-tech-industry-other-bias-lets-fight-em-all.
- Ferres, Zach. “The New Wave of Tech Founders Can Cure the Industry’s Ageism Problem.” Observer, Observer, 27 July 2019, https://observer.com/2019/07/big-tech-ageism-problem-cure/.
- Giacobbe, Lynne. “Understanding Ageism: What Is It and Who It Affects.” Understanding Ageism: What Is It and Who It Affects, https://www.kendalathome.org/blog/bid/336888/understanding-ageism-what-is-it-and-who-it-affects.
- Juneau Gary, PsyD, Juneau, and Neal S. Rubin, PhD, ABPP. “Rejecting Ageism: Psychological Perspectives and International Human Rights Law.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, https://www.apa.org/international/pi/2016/12/rejecting-ageism.
- Mukherjee, Raj. “REPORT: Ageism in the Tech Industry.” Indeed Blog, 14 Nov. 2019, http://blog.indeed.com/2017/10/19/tech-ageism-report/.
- Recruitment, Secure. “Is Ageism Really a Problem in the Cyber Security Industry?” Secure Recruitment Ltd, Secure Recruitment /Wp-Content/Uploads/2017/12/SecureRecruitment_LogoMasterNew2-1030×311.Png, 28 Feb. 2019, https://www.secure-recruitment.com/ageism-problem-cyber-security/.
- Seegert, Liz, et al. “How Ageism Can Negatively Affect the Health of Older Adults.” Association of Health Care Journalists, 7 June 2016, https://healthjournalism.org/blog/2016/06/how-ageism-can-negatively-affect-the-health-of-older-adults/.
- Stauffer, Camille. “Fighting Ageism in Cybersecurity.” Automox Blog, https://blog.automox.com/fighting-ageism-in-cybersecurity.
- SwannerJune, Nate. “Ageism Still a ‘Major’ Problem in Tech: Dice Survey.” Dice Insights, 20 June 2018, https://insights.dice.com/2018/06/12/ageism-tech-major-problem-survey/.
- Williams, Howard, et al. “Ageism in Tech: The Not-so-Invisible Age Limit Developers Face.” TechTalks, 29 Mar. 2019, https://bdtechtalks.com/2019/03/29/ageism-in-tech-age-limit-software-developers-face/