A Crack in the Wall of Silence Around Age Discrim. in High Tech


SFGate reports that Atlassian, an international software maker, has become the first tech company to publicly release data on the age breakdown of its employees.

Nineteen percent of Atlassian’s 1,400 workers are over the age of 40. This compares to  51 percent of workers who are between the ages of 30 and 39  and  30 percent who are between the ages of 20 to 29.

Atlassian was founded in 2002 in Sydney, Australia and  has six offices in five countries, including a San Francisco office with about 250 employees. The company is  known for its  team collaboration product, Confluence.

Atlassian’s disclosure is significant because American tech companies are not required to and do not disclose the ages of their employees when they release diversity data and, indeed, they do not even seem to recognize that age is a diversity consideration.

Aubrey Blanche, Atlassian’s global head of diversity and inclusion, told SFGate that the company does not treat issues like ageism, sexism and racism as if they are unrelated, but strives for what is known as intersectional diversity — recruiting candidates with overlapping social identities that the company lacks.

Numerous stories in the national press in recent years have asserted that Silicon Valley is a virtual apartheid state for younger workers but the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ignored the problem.

Google was hit with a class action lawsuit last year by an unsuccessful 60-year-old job applicant. The lawsuit asserts the median age of the 28,000 employees who worked for Google in 2013 was 29 whereas the median age for computer programmers in the United States was 42.8 and the median age for software developers was 40.6.

 PayScale Inc., a compensation information company, released statistics a couple of years ago that show the average  age of  workers at Facebook is28; LinkedIn, 29; Apple, 31;  Yahoo, 31; and , Ebay, 32.

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