Ageism, like other forms of group discrimination, is despicable, ignorant, and illegal. Yet it’s commonplace among business leaders, especially in the tech sector. And it is, as Bill Maher has pointed out, “the last acceptable prejudice in America.”
Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, told the New York Times in an interview that he was “trying to build a culture specifically to attract and retain Gen Y’ers,” because, “in the tech world, gray hair and experience are really overrated.”” Mark Zuckerberg has been quoted saying, “Young people are just smarter.”
The average age of employees at Facebook, LinkedIn, and SpaceX is under 30. It’s under 35 at Tesla, Google, Amazon, Apple, Salesforce, Adobe, Intel, and Microsoft—among others.
Yet as Tricia Lucas, CEO of Lucas Select, has written, there are numerous benefits to hiring those over 50: they are flexible and dependable problem solvers, they make great mentors, they usually have large professional networks, and, most importantly, “they are ethical.”