1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Do non-software Engineers get discriminated by age too?

  1. Dec 30, 2014 #1
    i wish people would stop trying to call everyone profession "engineer". Software Engineers should be called software developers, and this confusion wouldn't exist. But anyways.....

    All over the web, there are articles and studies (even a professor from UCD did a study and warned people against agism in IT), that tell about the intense ageism in IT. Most of these articles use the term "software engineer" so I want to know if other Engineers (such as mechanical, civil, environmental, chemical) get discriminated for their age like the software "engineers" do? Do the engineers outside of software suffer from having "temporary knowledge capital", like the software "engineers" do?

    Of course, every profession is at least somewhat discriminated by age, but do Engineers outside of the software industry get discriminated because of the changes in technology and because old age reflects inability to learn new technologies to employers? Like software "Engineering", engineers also have to work with technologies that are constantly evolving.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2014 #2

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Your title assumes many facts not in evidence.

    First, at least in the US, it is illegal to discriminate by age. For all the complaining about "HR trolls" in this section, HR in most companies does a pretty good job in making sure this doesn't happen. It is, however, legal to have pay bands and job descriptions - I can (and have been) in a situation where I have enough money to hire an entry-level engineer, and a job description suitable for an entry-level engineer, and have had to turn down an applicant with decades of experience: I am not allowed to hire someone experienced into an entry level position, and I don't have the funding to hire this person at the level commensurate with her abilities. This is not age discrimination.

    As an engineer's career progresses, they naturally become more specialized. This tends to make them more and more competitive for a smaller and smaller set of jobs. In the case where this smaller number of jobs is shrinking - like designing buggy whips - this doesn't work out so well for those engineers. In the case where the number of jobs is increasing, well, this works out very very well for those who can take advantage of it.

    Also, there is a difference between a "software engineer" and a "code monkey". One expects a software engineer to be able to apply skills commonly used in engineering to the development of software.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2014
  4. Dec 30, 2014 #3

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    I have to echo V50s comments. I am a hiring manager in an engineering field. We are quite well trained by HR to understand how discrimination can actually happen in the hiring process and how it can even appear to happen. Processes and policies are set in place to avoid both actual and even apparent discrimination, and support and advice are provided by HR throughout the hiring process.
     
  5. Dec 31, 2014 #4

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    And I'll amplify the other side of the coin -- not just when hiring, but in employing workers of a wide age range. It may have been common previously to work the same job for decades, but today if you have collected decades worth of pay raises while doing the same job, you may have priced yourself out of the job you are doing, putting you at risk for layoff if the company isn't growing. That isn't ageism, it is simple economics: cost vs productivity.

    Also, not sure what the relevance is of your beef with the term "software engineer," but the term "engineer" isn't generally assigned lightly.
     
  6. Dec 31, 2014 #5
    not even in "sanitary engineer"?
     
  7. Dec 31, 2014 #6
    What does that mean ?
    At the junior level, is a code monkey different from a software engineer ?
    At a higher level, both need to understand what is being said by the spec and adhere to it while coding. I don't see the differences; maybe I am in a bad mood then.
     
  8. Dec 31, 2014 #7

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

  9. Dec 31, 2014 #8

    Dale

    Staff: Mentor

    My wife lists her profession as "domestic engineer"
     
  10. Dec 31, 2014 #9

    russ_watters

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I would not argue with that.
     
  11. Dec 31, 2014 #10

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Happy wife, happy life. Is it time to move this thread to Relationships?
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Do non-software Engineers get discriminated by age too?
Loading...