Addressing a Different Kind of Diversity in the Tech Workplace

There’s been an ongoing conversation in the technology industry about a lack of diversity -- most notably about the “bro-grammer” culture that is light on women employees and can have the tendency to make the women who do work in tech feel unwelcome.

This is a valid concern, one that needs to be discussed and addressed, but it’s also the media most popular issue to address -- not just in tech, but in other businesses, as women continue to make less than men for similar jobs and roles.

All that said (and we may say it ourselves and in more detail in a future column), another key area where technology is losing on the diversity scale is in the age of its employees. As both chillingly and hilariously depicted in Dan Lyons’ recent book “Disrupted: My Misadventures in the Startup Bubble,” people over the age of 50 are in shorter supply than women at an all-night hackathon.

Part of the knock on older workers is that they don’t understand and can’t work with the latest technology, but a new study from Dropbox and Ipsos Mori , shared via BetaNews, suggests that is hardly the case.

According to the study, older workers use just short of five forms of technology per week, while the overall average is 4.7. They also find using technology in the workplace less stressful than younger colleagues -- we found this the most interest figure. Could it be because of years in the workplace and seeing the changes has given them a perspective on workflow and increased simplicity through tech that the new generation of workers will never know in comparison?

The study also suggests older workers have fewer problems working across multiple devices, in nearly a 3-to-1 ratio.

Of course, these comparisons are made across the entire workforce, not just the tech industry, where specialization often rules. But it’s also worth considering as tech continues to steamroll the business landscape and offices may increasingly need a wiser old sage to keep everything in perspective.

Coverage of the study is linked above.

The study itself can be downloaded through Dropbox here.