BS, It's all about costs now, and older employees (engineers or Janitors) will be first to get fired to cut costs no matter what their skills. Fact of life or unrestrained capitalism? Sucks either way. So I say, kill the young before they have a chance to growup and take your job ;)
I've been on both sides of this fence. As a self-employed consultant, if age discrimination is a major deal, I'd be in big trouble because I'm constantly being "hired". Likewise I have been used by several companies I do work for to screen applicants, both consultants and potential employees.
I think in particular of an interview a number of years ago with one engineer about 60 years old who had been out of work for a year. He was applying for a position developing embedded firmware. His only experience was on 10 or 20 year old 8 bit CPUs. He didn't even have much PC experience. I had to tell him, "Go get yourself a PC. Learn it from top to bottom. I know money is tight, but you have time on your hands. You must update your skills if you are going to be competitive." He had been in a comfortable niche in a large company where he was mostly a paper pusher. When they downsized he was an obvious candidate to let go and he was totally unprepared for a real engineering job.
The hardest part is staying current. Those who do will fare well, even if they have to make a move. Those who don't . . ,
I'm sure there are HR people who worry about retirement costs and increasing health costs, etc. But in the big picture, those who can deliver can always find someone who needs them.
While working for a Baker Hughes division, the VP of Human Resources told a large gathering of people that the average employee age at that time was 42, and they had to do something to reduce that.
3 months later, I and 78 others were laid off. One was under age 45.
Since it's very hard to know if you've been passed over for a job because of your age, you should have asked:
Have you or your boss ever declined to hire someone because of their age?
That could be if someone is perceived to be too young (inexperienced) or too old (too expensive or out of touch).
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