Jackie 'You have no authority here' Weaver: We need more 50-somethings in UK tech
Lack of older workers probably means they need to reskill, says BCS survey
Jackie Weaver – whose forthright handling of a local parish council planning meeting went viral earlier this year – has added her voice to concerns that there aren't enough "people of a certain age" in IT.
According to the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, about 31 per cent of the UK's total workforce are aged 50 or above.
And yet, when the BCS looked at the ages of the 1.6 million UK-based IT specialists, it found that just 22 per cent of them were over 50 years old.
This shortfall prompted the BCS to state: "The lack of people over 50 working in tech is a strong indication that this group needs to reskill."
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It's also an issue that is troubling for Jackie Weaver. She teamed up with the BCS in April to call on the UK government to keep online council meetings legal even as coronavirus restrictions across Britain were eased. Now she's concerned about the scarcity of older folk in the IT workplace.
"Just as we make assumptions about town and parish councillors being mainly white males, we tend to think of IT being something that is enhanced by youth," said Weaver in a statement.
"In both instances, we miss the point that older people bring with them the invaluable resource of experience. If we do not acknowledge and address this issue, we are simply doomed to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Youth and experience both have a role to play and blinkered reliance on one or the other is a backward step."
Someone should tell some of the, er, older vendors out there. HP/ HPE, IBM and Intel are fighting age descrimination cases. And so are some of the relatively newer entrants, like Google. The Uni of California researched the issue too and agreed it is a problem.
While 50-somethings need to take some personal responsibility for their own ongoing career development, the BCS also recognises that they might need some extra help.
"In an ageing population it absolutely makes sense for employers to invest in their more mature staff, and help them to keep up to speed with new technology and the demands of a digital economy," a spokesperson for the BCS told The Register.
It may not be your skills that are the problem, of course. Read on for some tips on getting it through the recruiters' heads that you do have the requisite skills, they just don't match up with the current buzzword bingo. After all, if they don't put you forward for a role, there's no chance of you getting it.