As workplace technology changes, employees are expected to keep up. As a result, employees who embrace changing technology are sometimes retained or hired in place of employees who aren’t as tech-savvy. In my experience, employers tend to view younger employees as being more welcoming to technological advances than their older coworkers. Stereotypes like this can be a form of age discrimination, which is unlawful under both Iowa and Federal law.
The practice of terminating senior employees and replacing them with younger employees (while giving the younger employees better technology) has become so prevalent on Wall Street that they’ve coined a term for it: “Juniortization.” A recent Business Insider article highlights this practice in the context of the banking world, noting “juniortization is taking place across the industry.”
For example, Goldman Sachs increased its number of junior employees (analysts, associates, and VPs) by 17% over a recent three-year period. During that same time period, it also decreased its senior employee pool (partners and managing directors) by 2%. According to the Business Insider, “you don’t need to pay an older trader or salesperson $1 million a year for experience and market savvy when you can give a junior trader some technology and the same knowledge at the end of a keyboard and mouse.”
The practice is by no means limited to Wall Street or the banking industry. Iowa employers and employees should be aware of potential biases against older workers regarding attitudes about changing technology. Employees of all ages can make themselves valuable to their employers by being open to learning about technological advances. Employers can work to prevent age discrimination in the workplace by giving all employees equal opportunities for training on new technology.
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