How Can We Achieve Age Diversity in Silicon Valley?
Steven Levy

The interesting dimension to me about this question of age diversity is that it complicates hiring and firing decisions. We all know that experience, qualifications and compensation tend to be strongly correlated with age. When age becomes a focused dimension of hiring, how many roles within the organization would actually be appropriate for someone with, say, more than 20 years of experience?

I have observed recent examples of how Private Equity firms manage age diversity in an acqusition and restructuring — they tend to prioritize and value cost-savings over experience. The culture of finance devalues age in favor of higher valuations. And this allows younger employees to take on leadership positions sooner than the generation that preceeded them. We already know the average lifespan of a company has decreased substantially. Is this ageism, talent development or capitalism at work?

Of course the answer to this question is simple: It depends. Intent is what matters most. If we believe in the value of diversity within organizations to spur innovation and resiliency within organizations, we should be inclusive of age in our metrics, no matter how young the company.