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Is Silicon Valley's youth movement really just age discrimination?

Tom Kaneshige | Aug. 20, 2013
Cisco is the latest Silicon Valley company to make it clear that it wants a younger, more tech-savvy workforce. But what looks like a youth movement to some industry observers and tech executives is age discrimination to others.

To be clear, these are not cavalier issues. People's ability to provide for their families, not to mention their feelings of self-worth, hang in the balance. Older tech workers have had to dye their hair, rework their wardrobe, leave graduation dates off their resumes and even get rid of age-telling AOL email accounts in order to get a shot at a job.

But there is a level of hypocrisy among these tech workers. For decades, they were part of a libertarian undercurrent in Silicon Valley culture, one that values freedom of thought, speech and-yes-business practices without government intervening.

Theirs was supposed to be a culture of absolute meritocracy, cutthroat innovation and supply meeting demand at all costs. Fair or not, Silicon Valley companies today are demanding younger workers to replace older ones.

The veterans may not be happy with what Cisco, Facebook, Twitter and others are doing, but they shouldn't be surprised.


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