July 6, 2017
Seniors are making moves in the startup world, meaning the age gap in tech could be a myth before you know it. And one startup has taken steps to prove this point by employing a fairly unique tactic when it comes to hiring their employees.
EverYoung, a South Korea-based startup, has made news recently for the surprising tactic of exclusively hiring employees over the age of 55. The company’s founder, Chung Eun-sung established the rule in hopes of solving the age discrimination problems that have plagued his home country for the last few years.
“By joining a new community of seniors, seniors can not only find vitality and meaning in their lives but also overcome the loneliness that comes from deep inside and keep their pride. This is the meaning and purpose of this project,” said Chung.
The content monitoring company caters specifically to its senior employees, providing 10-minute breaks every hour and only schedules employees to work for 4 hour shifts. These accommodations have helped the company succeed, which could be a good sign. After all, age discrimination is a huge problem in the tech community around the world.
“Making hiring and firing decisions based on age is illegal, but age discrimination is rampant in the tech industry, and everyone knows it, and everyone seems to accept it,” said Dan Lyons, screenwriter for HBO’s Silicon Valley, in an Observer post. “What other industry operates like this? What would the world be like if doctors, lawyers, or airline pilots — or anyone, really, other than professional athletes — had to accept the idea that their career would end at age 40, or 50?”
The need for this kind of project is more than obvious at this point, particularly in South Korea. A recent government study showed that 82 percent of younger adults (age 20 to 50) believed they could be forced into early retirement, prior to the official retirement age of 60. This is not only makes for a stressful work environment, but it’s also a problematic societal standard that could create economic strife for everyone in the ecosystem.
Could companies like EverYoung change the age discrimination discussion around the world? As a project specifically designed to help seniors succeed, it’s hard to say at this point. However, as for making a point about the futility of age discrimination, they have clearly made a statement that should be considered by the entire tech community: don’t judge a book by its cover.
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