The Institute - June 2018 - 14

Three Things
Value More
Than a
High Salary

I am against age-based advertising,
because it discriminates against persons not in the specified age range and
because it also ignores the fact that
age is very seldom a reliable indicator
of ability to do the work needed.
-Prof Stewart

We "graybeards" bring a lot more to the
table than just what's on our résumés.
We've been in the workforce for more
than a generation, so we've lived
through the changes. We've seen the
march of technology and all its good
and evil, and we don't flinch (well, not
much) at economic or social turmoil.
Plus, we carry the institutional memory
of multiple companies in our hearts
and minds. These are just a few of the
reasons to hire people like us, and why
almost all cultures revere their elders.


by strategy firm
Department26 found
that what motivates
millennial workers (ages 21
to 35) to stay with one company are leadership opportunities and a clear path to
advancement, as well as flexible
hours. (Read the full article on
page 11.)

-Jim Strohm


in the United
States-including Amazon, Target, and Verizon-are
placing recruitment advertisements on Facebook that
target job hunters younger than 40. This finding is
based on an investigation conducted by The New York
Times and the nonprofit journalism organization ProPublica.
Employers can select criteria about prospective workers,
such as profession, location, interests, and age range, and
then Facebook uses its extensive data collected about users to
direct the ads to the target audience.
A class-action complaint alleging age discrimination
was filed in federal court in San Francisco on behalf of the
members of the Communications Workers of America. The
union is suing several American employers and employment
agencies that exclude older workers from receiving employment and recruitment ads on Facebook.
Rob Goldman, Facebook's vice president of advertising,
defended the company, saying, "Used responsibly, age-based
targeting for employment purposes is an accepted industry
practice, and for good reason: It helps employers recruit, and
people of all ages find work."
In our blog post, we asked readers whether they had
faced age discrimination in the hiring process, on Facebook,
or elsewhere.

Age should not be seen as a negative:
An older person with more experience
can give good advice and save the
younger people from going over the
same ground twice. However, I recognize that newer technology understood by and available to younger
people now makes stuff possible that
I couldn't do many years ago. The
old and the young should work in the
same place to their mutual benefit and
to the benefit of their employer.
-Brian Butters

-Steve Gilbert

The greatest value in building an effective team is to hire as much experience
as you can afford and mix it up with
younger workers who can bring a fresh
perspective. The real problem is that
too few people in our industry understand this and, generally, they lack the
knowledge of how to build stellar engineering teams. This has not changed all
that much in my 35 years in the field.

-Victor Skowronski

The problem with millennials is that
they are incapable of receiving criticism.
I teach several university seminars,
and I've noticed a profound difference between this generation and the
previous one. Perhaps the elementary
schools and high schools are discouraging competition and promulgating an
"everyone is a winner" mind-set, but I
find them to be very fragile emotionally.
A leader cannot have this quality.

Employers should be free to hire whomever they want. It is their company, after
all. If us older engineers truly bring
added value to the table, then other
companies will quickly figure that out,
and hire us to beat the competition. It
is also possible that we don't bring as
much to the table as we think we do.

-JB Wilson

Ads targeting certain age groups save
a lot of time. If you get to an interview
and they see you are older than they
want for the job, they just won't offer
it to you. Good luck trying to argue
that you didn't get the job because of
your age in those circumstances.

These discussions are ongoing. To weigh in, visit

If millennials want to be leaders, IEEE
should offer them more opportunities
to do so. Let them become a volunteer
and work on various projects. This
would give them the chance to learn
from IEEE leaders and provide a path
to a leadership position.

-Ben Rolfe

-Brian Hudson


Why in the world would new employees be loyal to a company? Even with
zero job experience, they have all
heard the stories from their parents
about companies dumping loyal
employees after 35 years of dedicated
service. So if the grass looks even a
tiny bit greener on the other side, they
are hopping over the fence. And how
can you blame them?


Job Ads on Facebook
Discriminate Against
Older Workers


The goal should be to expand everyone's
understanding of leadership. It is not
a position; it is an attitude. Can I help
someone? If I do, I am a leader because
I led by example. Does someone need
support? I give it to them because this is
what leaders do. I believe the more successful firms will find ways for all their
professionals to be leaders.
-John W.

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