Facebook is but a dorm room

Creative people are inventive throughout their life. For them, the creative process is about continuing advancement. But in high-tech there is a tendency to believe that creativity is the domain of youth, something that may be true at Facebook.

Norm Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California at Davis, makes the argument, in his most recent newsletter, that Facebook favors the young in hiring.

Matloff says he has visited the Facebook campus on a number of occasions and says that “it looks like a giant dorm room.” The vast majority of people are 20-somethings, he writes.

For those who want to see it for themselves, Matloff advises his readers to check out the pictures on Facebook’s career page.  

Matloff has long argued that there is age discrimination in the tech industry. He is best known for his work on the H-1B visa, which he says exacerbates this practice with its supply of young workers.

Matloff analyzes Facebook’s job openings. Of the 83 openings he counted, Matloff found that most were aimed at recent grads or people not long out of school.

Many companies are “intentionally reducing the average age of their work forces in an effort to save money,” wrote Tom Agan, the managing partner of Rivia, an innovation and brand consulting firm, in a recent New York Times op-ed, “Why Innovators Get Better With Age.”

Agan argues that companies that push older workers out the door will hurt their innovation potential.   

Facebook probably isn’t hiring young people to save money. Its founder is only 28. But the point made by Agan still applies.

It is strange that the high-tech industry, so focused on the future, may be creating a dystopian world that treasures the young and discards the old.  


Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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