anonymous tech woman

Yet another woman in technology blog. I'm actually a developer who uses a variety of Java and database technologies on a variety of platforms.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Age Discrimination

1st October 2006 marked the introduction of the Age Discrimination Laws in the UK. This means that employers can no longer discriminate against people because of their age as long as they are under the retirement age stated in the contract of employment.

In theory this is a good law, however in practise like sex, race and disability discrimination laws employers will find ways around it by simply looking at the dates of education of the person then once the potential employee comes in, they will give the excuse that their were more suitable candidates. For example I've been asked in the past "How do I feel working in a male envirnoment?" or "Do you have any dependents?" which due to the way it has been asked is an euphemism for we don't employ women here because they don't fit in with our culture or will get pregnant and demand maternity leave/flexible working. Before you think this is my misinterpretation any business that has ever employed me, here or abroad, has never asked those sorts of questions.

This law should affect the IT industry greatly but all that will happen is:
1. Employers will continue to set their rates of pay too low for the experience required to do the job thus claiming there is a skills shortage to allow a foriegn (cheaper and potentially easier to exploit) worker to do the job.
2. There will be more short term contracts. The fact is most IT employees move on within a 1-2 years of being on the job so giving someone a short term contract with no benefits such as pension will save the employer money.

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