Jon Nathanson, in “Silver is the New Gold“, writes about Silicon Valley’s obsession with hiring young IT founders and young employees in order to target the younger market. That makes perfect sense, therefore it also makes perfect sense to hire IT Baby Boomers to target an untapped the $750 Billion dollar Baby Boomer market.
It is natural for entrepreurs to go after the biggest honey pots markets which in IT are the early adopters. You people tend to adopt technology and innovations earlier and over the last 15 years, most apps were targeted to this large segment. It begs the question as to whether this market is maturing (no pun intended) and it is time to focus on other age cohorts.
Who understands Boomers better than other boomers. I think however we Geezer Geeks will not be as reluctant to have a mult-generational focus when it comes to building our companies and teams. Nathason says:
“There’s no shortage of boomers ready to get to work. Paul Irving and Anusuya Chatterjee, writing for Forbes, note that nearly half of all entrepreneurs founding new companies in 2011 were between the ages of 45 and 64. And 80 percent of boomers currently in the workforce would be willing to mentor millennials.”
This resonates with my experience in IT. Most older information technology workers I’ve encountered are often more than willing to mentor the young. One manager was initially surprised that a forty year old was on his team for a year long census project. He was gracious but I knew he was expecting some kid. Each of us on the team were running a regional LAN, providing support, training and anything else needed for the national census. Over the course of the year long project I was able to mentor some of the young workers on 1. How to say “No” to requests and not have people angry at you. 2. How not to freak out when everything appears to be blowing up. 3. How on a dispersed team (any team) to intentionally build relationships. These were just a few of the things that young people often don’t get. Of course, they taught be new ideas as well. I am a strong advocate for multi-generational teams.
Take note fellow Geezer Geeks that 1/2 of new companies were started by people in our age group. The times they are a-changin’. One strategy I am going to explore are the hiring trends of the teams of these seasoned entrepreneurs. I suspect the hiring trends may parallel the mentoring statistics. One out of five will hire within their age cohorts (all Boomers) and others will be multi-generational teams. These will be the companies for those seeking employment and big opportunities (ie stock options).
Tell me what you think. Do you know of any companies which hire older information technology workers?