In between taking my geritol and feeding the pigeons, I came up with a brilliant idea to solve the tech industry’s talent shortage AND its diversity problem: Hire more old people.
The rationale behind “diversity” in any organization is to bring contrasting perspectives to the table. A really easy way to get diversity of opinion is to look a generation above. Try talking to your parents, or grandparents, about any matter of social and political import. See?
Yesterday, the internet collectively soiled itself over VP Mike Pence’s policy of never dining alone with women who aren’t his wife. But anyone born before 1963 would find that behavior perfectly reasonable*! The problem is that the internet, and the internet industry, is restricted to a narrow cohort whose formative years were shaped by the same series of world events.
Silicon Valley is known for putting employees out to pasture by age 35. The median age of Facebook employees is 28, and at Amazon and Apple it’s a Methuselean 31. Prime working age in this country runs from 25 to 54, which means that a reasonable company median ought to be closer to 40.
I get it, no one wants to work alongside Grampa. The Soylent cabinet will have to be stocked with Metamucil, catered dinners will move up to 4pm, the foosball table will make way for shuffleboard, and company team-building exercises will consist of bingo night.
But it’s important to bring an older perspective to the industry. Older employees can make sure that VR goggles properly support bifocals, self-driving cars remain safely below the speed limit, and Siri and Alexa will know better than to talk back to their elders.
Okay yeah maybe there’s a reason why Facebook keeps getting voted the best place to work in the US.
*It looks like those born after 1992 might agree as well.