Yes, China Too

An alert reader pointed me to this Bloomberg article on ageism in the Chinese tech sector. I’ve observed it myself, in the experience of a relative and her husband.

But the article incorrect in saying that the problem is even worse in China than in the U.S. Wrong! It’s just as bad in the U.S.; note that they even set 35 as the cutoff point (though some lower numbers are mentioned too), just like I do for the U.S. The U.S. firms are better at hiding it, that’s all.

One difference is that in the U.S. the primary motivation is cost savings, while in China it is a misguided notion that only young new graduates know the Latest and Greatest technologies. (U.S. companies make statements like that too, but it is mainly an excuse.)

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14 thoughts on “Yes, China Too

  1. Well, at least the Chinese are not replacing Chinese workers with lower wage foreign workers. They might not be perfect but it seems that the Chinese government and industry is a bit more patriotic than ours?

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  2. This has been a pattern in Chinese economic development since the early 1990s: They copy various foreign models, especially American models.
    One aspect of this was that, during the period from 1990-2010, China invested a lot of money in highly polluting industries. Visiting Americans used to say “They’re making all of the mistakes we made.”
    Now, they are attempting to copy Silicon Valley circa 1980, complete with age discrimination, sexual discrimination, and too many MBAs.
    Oh well. . .

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  3. From the Houston Chronicle, “… the number of people employed in oil and gas extraction over age 45 fell by 19 percent between 2012 and 2017, while employees between 25 and 34 -often classified as millennial – were the only age group to grow”.

    From Politico, “But when it comes to getting older, a POLITICO analysis finds, the private sector has nothing on the U.S. government. …. Today, just 17 percent of federal workers are under 35 years old. (In the private sector, almost 40 percent are.) And more than a quarter of federal employees are now older than 55. … Sixty nine percent of NASA’s workforce is over 45 years old. At the Department of Housing and Urban Development, it’s 70 percent. At the tiny Government Publishing Office, it’s even more extreme—80 percent.”

    In many countries government jobs are the most coveted. In the US jobs with tech companies are highly coveted. Don’t young college graduates and their old parents see the writing on the wall?

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  4. I recently did an experiment to apply for some jobs, even though I don’t need one, to check the ageism matter. And there’s no two ways that American tech companies are blatantly practicing this, I was stunned when a Walmart tech job application in silicon valley asked question about age with only 2 options – Under 40 and over 40. Is congress taking notice?

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  5. And every American company is complacent in this not just the outsourcing. And with young Asian countries they have found gold mine of sorts. In order to get “young blood”, many have been hiring around the world (India, China and even Australia) and then bring them over to the US after few years working in the origin countries. Google, Microsoft and now Facebook follow this practice.

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  6. Important Tip! When searching for a dentist or doctor, make sure he/she is much younger than you! You don’t want him/her to die or retire while you are still alive. So, if plan to live to age 90 and your doc retires at age 65, then the doc has to be 25 years younger than you. Make sure the doc accepts Medicare/Medicaid in case you need to use these programs in the future.

    Note that dentists and doctors have not been hoodwinked into the younger workers are paid less scam. A dentist just out of dental school is not going to charge you, say, half of what a dentist with 30 years of experience charges. Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement rates depend on the procedure and location/geography. Years of experience have nothing to do with it.

    When you go to the auto repair shop to have a new transmission installed, you are given a price for the job. You are NOT given two prices, one for the job being done by a worker with 2 years of experience, and another for the job being done by a mechanic with 20 years of experience. Then why should the younger mechanic be paid less?

    Why on earth do young people accept lower wages? Six months should be long enough to learn how to do a job.

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