Silicon Valley may be booming again, but times are still tough for the 200 out-of-work professionals who crowd into Sunnyvale’s City Hall every Thursday morning.I've never liked Google.
Most of them hold advanced degrees in engineering and have more than a decade of experience in the technology sector. They fill all of the seats in the City Council chamber and spill out into the aisles.
They are members of Pro Match, a government-financed support group and “interactive career resource center” for educated older workers who have suddenly, and usually involuntarily, found themselves on the job market. Most have been out of work for months.
While Web-based companies like Facebook and Google are scouring the world for new talent to hire, older technology workers often find that their skills are no longer valued.
Hiring managers at the Bay Area’s fastest-growing technology companies were blunt. Seth Williams, a director of staffing at Google, said his firm was looking for candidates who are “passionate” and “truly have a desire to change the world.”
Brendan Browne, who heads hiring at the professional networking site LinkedIn, said his firm wanted every new hire to be entrepreneurial. Mr. Browne said that approximately 25 percent of LinkedIn’s new hires came from the company’s recruitment efforts at colleges and universities.
Lori Goler, the head of human resources and recruiting efforts at Facebook, said her company was looking for the “college student who built a company on the side, or an iPhone app over the weekend.” The company also hires more-experienced workers, if “they are results-focused and can deliver again.”
Regardless of age, Ms. Goler said, “We ask: Are they going to get to do what they love to do for fun at work?”
Some observers say much of this language is just code for age discrimination. They point to the case of Brian Reid, a 52-year-old manager who was fired by Google in 2004 — nine days before the company announced plans to go public — after his supervisors, including the company’s vice president for engineering operations, allegedly called him a poor “cultural fit,” an “old guy” and a “fuddy-duddy” with ideas “too old to matter.”
Mr. Reid sued Google for age discrimination and said that his unvested stock options would have been worth at least $45 million if he had stayed there.
Google denied the charges and asked that the suit be dismissed, calling such remarks “stray comments.” But the California Supreme Court ruled that the claims, if true, would constitute discrimination. The case was resolved out of court “to the mutual satisfaction of all parties,” said Lori Ochaltree, Mr. Reid’s lawyer, who declined to say how much the settlement was.
A Google spokesman declined to comment on the case or the amount of the settlement.
In an interview, Norman S. Matloff, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who has studied hiring patterns in the technology sector, said workers over 35 regularly face discrimination by technology companies.
Kris Stadelman, director of NOVA, the local work force investment board, which released a survey of human resource directors at 251 Bay Area technology companies last July, said that in her experience, candidates began to be screened out once they reached 40.
“Especially in social media, cloud computing and mobile apps, if you’re over 40 you’re perceived to be over the hill,” Ms. Stadelman said.
Old Techies Never Die; They Just Can’t Get Hired as an Industry Moves OnBy AARON GLANTZ
Now I don't like LinkedIn or Facebook, either.