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How Companies Are Preparing For the IT Workforce Exodus

samzenpus posted 1 year,10 days | from the heading-off-into-the-sunset dept.

Businesses 248

itwbennett writes "If you think there's a glut of contract IT workers now, just wait. 10,000 U.S. baby boomers will turn 65 every day from now until 2030, and at least some of them will want to ease into retirement. This may sound like music to the ears of IT organizations who already would rather hire temporary staff with specialized expertise — especially for working on legacy technologies. 'The contractor ratio, already high in tech, will continue to increase as companies allow retiring staff to work part-time hours or hire them for short-term projects,' says Matthew Ripaldi, senior vice president at IT staffing firm Modis."

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OP or tune it ee (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | 1 year,10 days | (#44651873)

If you're in tech now the geezers are finally going to let you move up by retiring.

Re:OP or tune it ee (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44651931)

Yeah, if you want to work for India Business Machines or Chinese Info Systems COmpany. Speak much Hindi or Mandarin?

The retirements just mean another faux "shortage" of talent to support more offshoring and H1B programs.

But then, I hear the NSA is hiring...

Re:OP or tune it ee (1)

symbolset (646467) | 1 year,10 days | (#44651987)

Or your state's IT department, or one of your state's many agencies. Or the federal government or its myriad arms. Or any city/county that's been around for a while. All of these have IT geezers who are ready to go fishing forever. You are trying to find nettles in a field of berries.

Re:OP or tune it ee (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652005)

Or your state's IT department, or one of your state's many agencies. Or the federal government or its myriad arms. Or any city/county that's been around for a while. All of these have IT geezers who are ready to go fishing forever. You are trying to find nettles in a field of berries.

No, it's just that his horizon isn't limited to government jobs

Re:OP or tune it ee (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652045)

We're talking about jobs where geezers are retiring. Nobody retires from .com jobs as a geezer. They quit, cash out, opt out, are laid off or are forced out a-la Microsoft's Stack Ranking while they're still in their 30's. There is no retirement in private sector tech. If you're old enough to worry about that, you're on your way out.

Re:OP or tune it ee (4, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653719)

We're talking about jobs where geezers are retiring. Nobody retires from .com jobs as a geezer. They quit, cash out, opt out, are laid off or are forced out a-la Microsoft's Stack Ranking while they're still in their 30's. There is no retirement in private sector tech. If you're old enough to worry about that, you're on your way out.

Bah.

I'm 44 and quite productively employed in private sector tech... and work with many people significantly older than I am, some into their 60s.

Re:OP or tune it ee (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652955)

Nope, state IT departments are also filling up with durkadurkas.

Re:OP or tune it ee (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44651941)

IT armageddon in 3, 2, 1 ....

Re:OP or tune it ee (1)

symbolset (646467) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652073)

The opportunity for bad actors is ripe, it is true. It looks like Strawberry Fields forever to them.

Re:OP or tune it ee (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652125)

If you're in tech now the geezers are finally going to let you move up by retiring.

If you thinks it's the geezers that are holding you back, you should probably look for a job in another field. If anything, geezers are the ones being fired because they make too much.

Re:OP or tune it ee (5, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652157)

Strokes grey beard - tell me more, young AC.

Re:OP or tune it ee (4, Funny)

dbIII (701233) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652853)

Oi! That's not my beard!

Re:OP or tune it ee (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652329)

Not sure whether trolling or...

But. I actually honestly think that geezers *are* holding certain parts of IT back, simply because IT develops so rapidly that most people are unable to keep up, especially the ones who have been um.. clasically trained.

Re:OP or tune it ee (5, Interesting)

AlecC (512609) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652781)

As a geezer, one of the main criticisms at my review was that I tend to overload younger staff with too much information. Because I have seen so much before, I can jump on new problems faster. And I am working at what thinks of itself as a leading edge chip design company on the newest products.The company chooses me for the bleeding edge.

Re:OP or tune it ee (5, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652831)

And yet, the faster IT "develops", the more it seems like year x's crop reinvents the wheel, and several years later, the "hot" trend that was the silver bullet either really does have all the same flaws as yesteryear's tech, or brought in some new ones that made it an even worse choice.

The only thing that's developed rather rapidly is hardware, and that train has slowed relative to technology to take advantage of it. Software wise, some new tech has come out, but mostly existing tech has refined itself. Nothing I'd call revolutionary compared to what existed before.

Re:OP or tune it ee (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652469)

Make too much sense? Tech seems to be one of the few places has at least a tendency to pay people what they're worth.

Re:OP or tune it ee (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652143)

So you become the new geezer? Nah i prefer to take my changes with Muahaslhema from offshore... you are fired.

Personally I prefer the dead man's shoes approach (2, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652427)

Why wait until your boss retires... why not assist him on his way to his final reward. What do you think crawl spaces are for anyway?

And what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Got an ambitious underling? There is always more room under the office.

The only downside is getting the fingers to un-stiffen enough to sign your references. You would think that the blood and putrid remains on the resume might cause questions, but real businessmen understand. Everyone has a few skeletons in their closet.

Re:OP or tune it ee (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652503)

No, they'll retain their position and likely their pay, only moving to part-time work. So they still get to career-block you, but now they can do it from home. Nothing like a GS 13/14/15 who manages to never be in the office, yet still holds a slot and draws a check. We are horribly shorthanded these days due to this crap, despite being "overstaffed."

Re:OP or tune it ee (1)

deadweight (681827) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652959)

I can't see how you can do that "officially", but we do have a few scammers that "work" from offsite but somehow can't seem to answer emails. Like I told my boss, when *I* work at home I'll actually answer an email or a phone call.

Re:OP or tune it ee (1)

orthancstone (665890) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653725)

I can't see how you can do that "officially", but we do have a few scammers that "work" from offsite but somehow can't seem to answer emails.

Your username seems an apt description of said individuals.

Retiring?! (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652545)

If you're in tech now the geezers are finally going to let you move up by retiring.

First of all, programmers don't retire, they just age away.

Secondly, most people CAN'T afford to retire. Folks need to get this "Baby Boomers are retiring" out of their heads.

Re:OP or tune it ee (4, Informative)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653073)

I've been listening to this "The Baby Boomers are going to retire and all you Gen-Xers and Millenials will have jobs aplenty!!" horseshit for decades now. But I have never see it happen. Most of the boomers I've known are way too self-centered and selfish to ever voluntarily surrender any power ("Me Generation" indeed) . In my field, I think I've seen more old boomers die at this point than retire. They just stay around forever like some kind of mold, getting in the way, collecting their big paychecks, and preventing anyone else from advancing (or innovating).

Sorry to sound bitter. I'm sure there are plenty of great boomers out there. But in the places I've worked, I've come to see them mostly as a pain-in-the-ass and obstacle to be overcome.

Re:OP or tune it ee (4, Insightful)

boristdog (133725) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653477)

I've heard it too, and I'm making it a reality, for myself at least. I'm not a true "boomer", since I was born in the mid-60's, but I'm not really whatever they call what came next, either.

But I see what's happening with the lack of jobs. So I'm saving my money, paying off all my debts, building up some alternate income sources and I plan to retire in about 5 or 6 years in my early 50's so someone younger can have my high-paying programmer/dba/analyst job. I don't need a huge house (kids are gone) or an expensive car, expensive 5 star vacations, etc. All I need is health insurance, my little place, my pets, my garden, a good car, lots of inexpensive vacations to fun places and some side work to keep me busy and I'm a happy SOB.

Turns out that none of that costs much except health insurance. And the republicans in my state want to keep me from getting affordable health care. So I can't retire until I can get that. And neither can my older co-workers. So we have to work, causing young people to be shut out of the good jobs, causing an economic crisis.

All because a bunch of petulant little whiners in government don't want people to have affordable health insurance because it may make the black man in the White House look good..

Re:OP or tune it ee (4, Informative)

jacobsm (661831) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653561)

I'm one of those geezers who's planning to retire in the next 5-10 years, currently with 34 years of zOS Systems Programmer experience behind me. if you want my job you're going to need to know;

S390 Assembler
How the operating system works
What to do when it doesn't
Data management.
Storage management.
Hardware configuration.
Data Encryption and security.
Networking.
Obscure business logic.
Knowing what to do, and more importantly why you MUST do it.
Knowing what NOT to do, and why it's a really bad idea.
Knowing what rules to make.
Knowing when to break the rules, and when not to.
Knowing when to tell Management they're an idiot, and they accept it because of your track record on being right.

Do you get the picture?

Seriously? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44651899)

"...says Matthew Ripaldi, senior vice president at IT staffing firm Modis"

Should we even take this post at face value?

Re:Seriously? (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | 1 year,10 days | (#44651935)

Yeah, what does Dice know about hiring trends?

Outsourcing (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44651911)

My experience is that IT is poorly understood and that everyone's still looking to outsource despite many disasters. There's no loyalty towards long serving employees and no desire to retrain for big $$$ when they can hire at small cost. The companies that do come to their senses will be hiring contractors for a pretty penny. The companies that don't will make do, or sink. It's going to be chaotic. The quality of IT services is actually declining from my experience and there's a lot of tolerance at the consumer end for buggy garbage that would have been considered low end rubbish only a decade ago.

Re:Outsourcing (4, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | 1 year,10 days | (#44651943)

Capitalism pretends that you can think in the long term by pandering to the interests of men who only need enough money to live for one lifetime.

All non-regulated industries end up as you describe, really.

Re:Outsourcing (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44651975)

Well, I dont think it is because of Capitalism. It is just the nature of human beings to to pander to the interests of people who have power.

Ashok
Blog: http://www.azuyo.com/blogs [azuyo.com]

Re:Outsourcing (1)

CFBMoo1 (157453) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652651)

This is very true. Where I work they went through a round of layoffs and four of the eight people laid off were from IT. It wasn't new guys either but someone with +10 years and two people with 20+ years of service. The one person with 20+ years was damn lucky he got early retirement to escape the layoff. There's also all this talk of outsourcing services that we usually run in house as well.

Re:Outsourcing (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44653237)

Maybe the culprit is you? A lot of US IT people tend to be lazy or incompetent, then get highly upset when the manager has enough, calls Tata and gets a MCSE or CCIE for a 1/4 the price of someone who does nothing but plays WoW at work and smokes the fatties in the parking garage. To boot, said MCSE does far more work than the others hired domestically. So far, the top tier programmers and IT people tend to harken from countries where hard work and education are valued.

It is no wonder why H-1Bs are so valued.

Glut of IT workers? (5, Informative)

pthisis (27352) | 1 year,10 days | (#44651969)

If you think there's a glut of contract IT workers now ...then you lack a basic understanding of labor markets.

Computer Programmers: 3.7%
DB Admins: 1.3%
Network and sysadmins: 3.9%
Network and data analysts: 3.9%
Software devs, application, and systems software: 4.0%

Those are the current unemployment rates for workers in those occupations. It's pretty much the same for all IT occupations; there are few enough workers that companies are having a tough time filling jobs, and even moderately skilled employees aren't having trouble finding jobs.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323936804578229873392511426.html [wsj.com]

Re:Glut of IT workers? (5, Informative)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652275)

Second that ; whenever we try hiring, the standard of the applicants is utter, utter, dross.

They typically exhibit faults like

* Lacing basic reading comprehension

For example, they tender applications for development jobs... when they were applying for testing.

* Apply for every job

When I apply for a job, I read the application and compose a precise strike covering letter, tailor my CV, the full treatment, because there are so few jobs out there that would interest me. These guys cut and paste applications into a huge list of jobs and it shows. Why would I want to hire someone who isn't interested in my position?

* Lack basic English skills

Spelling and grammar mistakes are a no-no. Successful software development is about communication - communicating with the user to get the requirements right, communicating with the computer to implement them. I don't wish to hire someone who displays difficulty communicating with concision in any of their chosen languages. Writing incomprehensible goobledegook in your job application will get it canned. Without wishing to be biased, this applies equally to the many Indian applicants (they outnumber the natives, typically) we receive responses from.

* Being unable to program

You'd think this would deter most folks from applying from programming jobs, but apparently many people have no shame. While I don't expect people to reinvent wheels like ArrayList, I do expect you to know how they are constructed.

* Lacking any kind of initiative

If you're asked a tough logic problem in an interview, even if you're stumped, you don't give up. If you attack it in a way that reveals some kind of thought process going on, I will give you credit for it.

Re:Glut of IT workers? (4, Funny)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652281)

And of course, the spelling and grammar nazi has made an error in his post!

<fires self>

Re:Glut of IT workers? (1)

gagol (583737) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652333)

Good decoy... way to keep grammar hackers away!

Re:Glut of IT workers? (1)

ruir (2709173) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652635)

I guess that paying them a decent salary is out of question, then?

Re:Glut of IT workers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652785)

You think he really want the folks who are in it only for the money?

Re:Glut of IT workers? (1)

ruir (2709173) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652973)

It is not wanting the folks "who are only on it for the money". The point is paying a honest/good salary to start attracting people competent enough.

Re:Glut of IT workers? (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653097)

What, isn't $33k/yr for someone living on the coasts a comfortable salary? ;) Maybe if the barriers to entry in the field weren't so high, more people would apply for all those openings that apparently exist. Every once in a while you see an "ask Slashdot" post where someone new to the field is struggling to get their first job due to the lack of experience.

Re:Glut of IT workers? (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653021)

Why would I want to hire someone who isn't interested in my position?

Because you need their skills perhaps? I don't hire a plumber because he likes my house, I hire him because he can fix my boiler.

Re:Glut of IT workers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44653273)

My guess? You are offering a salary that attracts the people you're getting. All that seems to matter these days is paying a cheap salary - quality of work, capability of workers, etc doesn't seem to make any difference.

Re:Glut of IT workers? (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653601)

Shortage of good candidates? If that is true, and you'd like to know who is responsible, look in a mirror.

One can have only just so many horrifying Dilbertesque employment experiences before ideas like a change of careers, or early retirement start to look attractive. Trying to become an independent consultant or start your own business looks daunting, but that's the direction I've been pushed. The prices that a sweatshop employer asks-- the humiliations, constant accusations of laziness and incompetence, demands for putting in extra hours, and then the really out of bounds stuff like being asked to falsify test results or show your "commitment" to your work by getting yourself financially upsidedown, with the threat of being terminated maintained as a festering ache in the back of the mind-- are so high that the benefits of being able to focus on technical work, especially programming, and not having to bother with administrative, managerial, and sales work, are insufficient compensation. Money is not the issue, not when an employer is pushing employees to lie and cheat, and even break the law and risk a stint in prison. Of course if, or more like when, the moment of truth arrives, the employer sure as hell isn't going to back their employees, no, quite the opposite. The employer will sell out those who bowed to the pressure to cheat.

I keep seeing all these surveys that rank software engineering as one of the top 10 or 5 or 3 best careers to follow, and I just can't believe it. Dilbert would not have the traction it does if the dark humor of it wasn't all too true. Too many complaints of worker shortages have been revealed as self-serving lies, part of a general effort to beat down compensation in any and every way possible, quality of the workers be damned. Maybe, this time, you, Mr. Employer, really are having troubles finding good workers. Have you tried the last resort, of offering more pay? If there really is wage inflation, then I'll believe. But forgive me for feeling just a bit cynical.

What, may I ask, are employers doing about all this? Whining to the government for more H1Bs? Outsourcing? But that's not what I mean. Don't you think employers' acts need a lot of cleaning up? What are you doing about that? I suppose it hasn't occurred to employers that anything needed to be done, certainly not by employers.

Re:Glut of IT workers? (2)

asmkm22 (1902712) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652331)

All they're saying is that the number of CONTRACTOR and/or CONSULTING jobs will go up, as businesses aren't likely to replace all of their aging and retiring in house staff. They aren't saying the overall unemployment rate or even career demand will change. Just that the shift away from in house staff is going to speed up in the next few decades as a result of baby boomers exiting the market.

Re:Glut of IT workers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652533)

I think you got it backwards. They're saying that as the boomers retire from normal full time positions that they will then go on to take up the contract/consulting positions, hence not really exiting the market.

Re:Glut of IT workers? (4, Insightful)

ruir (2709173) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652641)

The point is that everyone nowadays doesn't think long term, and just wants cheap labor, and then complains it can't find competent applicants, because the competent ones are already with a stable job, and/or don't bother applying for cheap ass salaries.

Re:Glut of IT workers? (1)

militiaMan (672558) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652441)

Half of BSCS change careers in less than 2 years after graduating. That would make the unemployment rate more like 50%.

Managers are in shorter supply (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652509)

FTFL:

Computer and information systems managers Management occupations 2.9%

Well now, it looks as though there's a REAL shortage in management! Unemployment is a WHOLE point LOWER!

Don't Worry (2)

The Cat (19816) | 1 year,10 days | (#44651973)

They'll find a way to keep us out.

Glad I started my own company. I don't need a job, and I don't have a boss.

Re:Don't Worry (2)

erroneus (253617) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652287)

If you think you don't have a boss, then you're doing it wrong. You have many.

Government is your boss in part. Each customer you do work for is your boss.

light, tunnel, oncoming train (4, Insightful)

Swampash (1131503) | 1 year,10 days | (#44651989)

With 10,000 Baby Boomers hitting retirement and putting their hands out for social security while simultaneously ceasing to pay income tax the IT job market should be the least of the US's worries.

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (1)

erroneus (253617) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652291)

Baby boomers are the next "national security threat."

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (2)

deadweight (681827) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652985)

Doies that mean they all get sent to Cuba without trial? Let Castro deal with AARP - that'll do him in for sure - muahahahaha

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652295)

It says 10,000 per day for 17 years, so that's over 62 million Boomers.

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652895)

But just think, they will probably be dying off at that rate too, so in 17 years things should turn around when there's no more baby boomers left.

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (2)

SirLurksAlot (1169039) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652633)

Exactly how many IT workers do you know who will need Social Security when in all likelihood they've been in IT their whole lives making IT money? I don't know about you but by the time I turn 65 I plan to have some kind of nest egg built up. If you're in IT you're not exactly hurting for money (or you're doing it wrong).

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652667)

You seem to have confused "need" and "want".

Of the retired Boomers I know who were the better-paid bosses of the well-paid IT staffers, exactly ZERO of them have opted out of Social Security.

Every single one of them could continue to live the lifestyles of the rich and famous without a dime of Social Security money. "But it's my damn money the feds stole from me, so I'll damn well collect it. Get the few pennies out of that pyramid scheme that I can."

Those self-entitled assclown Boomers will continue to bleed this country dry, all the while complaining about how tough things are for them and how easy things are for the rest of us.

Nest eggs or no, they'll still be a huge financial burden on our country, which was Swampash's point.

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (2)

Sponge Bath (413667) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653051)

Every single one of them could continue to live the lifestyles of the rich and famous without a dime of Social Security money... all the while complaining about how tough things are for them and how easy things are for the rest of us.

Project much?

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652687)

Exactly how many IT workers do you know who will need Social Security when in all likelihood they've been in IT their whole lives making IT money? I don't know about you but by the time I turn 65 I plan to have some kind of nest egg built up. If you're in IT you're not exactly hurting for money (or you're doing it wrong).

Exactly. After 40 years, from cobol programming to strategic planning, the IT industry was very good to me. I'm sitting on $4 mill of nest egg, most of it saved from salary that IT jobs provided. I'm living off the egg now, but indeed will collect my social security in a few years - since it was billed as a savings plan 40 years ago and therefore I am entitled to it. Need is not the issue. SS is not a tax, it is an investment plan. IT isn't in the rapid growth period it once was, the medical industry is the upcoming boom, but there are plenty of opportunities for those that choose IT as a career, and don't see work as just a job.

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (4, Insightful)

SQLGuru (980662) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652989)

I'm in my 40s and won't need Socialist Security for many years. I'm planning for the well to be dry (or to be legislated away) by the time I get there, so I'm putting away money on my own. But you can bet that when the time comes, I'll be claiming whatever share I'm allowed. It's *MY* money that I was forced to contribute so that it would be there for my retirement....when I retire, I want it back.

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (1)

rock_climbing_guy (630276) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653131)

Of course, you realize that today's politicians prefer to think of SS as a program to transfer wealth.

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (1)

meta-monkey (321000) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653597)

Ah, but you didn't pay enough. And it wasn't saved, it was spent.

Your $4 mil is not enough for you You want the "savings" you didn't save, but instead spent and spent again. Your "savings" will not come from an account reserved for you, they will come from my pocket, because they were "saved" in name only.

My generation inherits from yours a life of debt slavery. And my children, a generation of baristas with Ph.D.s, will be your servers. Enjoy your latte, boomer. You've earned it.

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (2)

somersault (912633) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652689)

Lots of people spend money as soon as it comes in. Some even spend money they don't have..

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652983)

GP addressed your concern:

you're not exactly hurting for money (or you're doing it wrong)

I command an impressive salary with reasonable job stability, but I cannot retire because I spent all of my money is the definition of "doing it wrong".

Or you have college-aged kids. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652863)

Just say'n.

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (2)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652869)

Personally, I know many of them who will need that Social Security immediately. Some have moved fiscally up to management, and are in better shape fiscally, but many have been relegated down to "legacy support" or squeezed out of their companies to avoid retirement benefits, or have been working as contractors (which makes savings harder). Many of us were horribly battered financially by the dotcom bubble, and others by the housing market crisis where our savings and housing investments collapsed. Being out of work for a year, unplanned, while their "stock options" turned into so much wastepaper collapsed a lot of savings. It's been difficult for many of my older colleagues to keep their skills active and salaries in the middle class, especially if we lost businesses in the dotcom crash and had to start over. Others of us have invested heavily in families and communities, whether with direct finances or by doing careers that we loved, or have health issues that are eating their finances.

The combination of any or all of these has been fiscally devastating to many of my colleagues and predecessors. I've been very fortunate that my workplace values the experience and that the variety of systems we work with keeps my skills fresh. But many of my older technical colleagues have basically become unemployable, since they're "overqualified". And despite its illegality, age discrimination is still widespread, just as there is gender discrimination against hiring women who might become pregnant in IT.

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (1)

deadweight (681827) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653001)

Because SO MANY people just don't cash their checks????WTF????

Re:light, tunnel, oncoming train (1)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653537)

With 10,000 Baby Boomers hitting retirement every day from now until 2030 and putting their hands out for social security while simultaneously ceasing to pay income tax the IT job market should be the least of the US's worries.

Just clarifying in support of your statement

By the way (-1, Offtopic)

The Cat (19816) | 1 year,10 days | (#44651999)

If you start a sentence with "actually" or "nope" you're a gigantic dick.

Thank you.

Re:By the way (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652231)

Actually nope, i start with both.

Re:By the way (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652235)

Actually, nope. You're the DICK

where did everybody go? (1, Funny)

bazorg (911295) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652047)

I saw this article headline on Feedly, loaded it, went to get a glass of water and when I came back there were only 14 comments, all under my visibility threshold. It sure looked like I was on the wrong side of the exodus.

Why the negativity for contractors? (2)

BlueCoder (223005) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652081)

Being a contractor I can earn more money if I'm motivated. Work semi regularly at half a dozen businesses and be exposed to new businesses and people all the time. In good times I can choose between projects that I'm interested in doing.

Re:Why the negativity for contractors? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652191)

Because contractors take work/money away from Modis. Nothing more.

Re:Why the negativity for contractors? (1)

macbeth66 (204889) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652845)

From my perspective, too many contractors code to get something to work and then move on. You can't maintain or upgrade their crap. At least with an employee, you can make sure they know they will have to fix or explain their crap.

Crap. What difference does it make. It all sucks.

I need more coffee. I hear there are animals that poop coffee.

Re:Why the negativity for contractors? (1)

DogDude (805747) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653223)

That's right. The contractors move up the ladder pretty quickly. The poor "perms" just sit there and rot on the vine.

Re:Why the negativity for contractors? (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653069)

Assuming you are a 1099 independent contractor. Factor in the costs for health benefits and the fact that contractors have to pay double the social security/medicare taxes in addition to having to file quarterly taxes.

ha... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652105)

They're not going anywhere.

All the boomers i know are still working.

They can't afford not to.

Re:ha... (1)

der_joachim (590045) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652345)

Which country are you from, AC? I know many many baby boomers who were able to retire early, because they could speculate on the value of their houses. Nowadays, younger generations are barely able to earn enough money to pay for their houses.

We can't afford to retire (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652405)

Have you seen the annuity rates recently?
My pension pot buys me a lot less than it did even 5 years ago and the trend is still downward.
I'm 65 next week and thankfully here in the UK we have laws that mean I can't be sacked for reaching retirement age.
I foresee that I will have to carry on working for at least 5 years health permitting.

The other issue here is the the Gov is raising the retirement age for both men and women to 70. There will be a lot more 'dead wood' biding their time in jobs waiting for the time to retire than there is now.

tech at 65? (0)

gblfxt (931709) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652219)

65? last of the cobal/fortran programmers? oh wait, network folks, all the companies still on tokenet done for?

quick calculation (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652297)

there's roughly 5975 days between today and 1st January 2013.

So, 59,750,000 people will have retired by then ? that's on top of the people that are already 65 years old

Quick check on Wikipedia shows that US population is estimated to be at 314 Millions people.

More than 19% of the whole population are set to retire. I wonder how this is going to impact the long-term economic growth of the United States.

Re:quick calculation (1)

prefec2 (875483) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652315)

You will have negative growth, especially when the baby boomers start dying and you have not a descend birth or immigration rate. In addition this only will work if you educate the additions to your population.

Re:quick calculation (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652507)

there's roughly 5975 days between today and 1st January 2013.

Holy shit, is this our first /. post from the future? Why are you speculating on what may happen, you already know. Now share!

Re:quick calculation (0)

SQLGuru (980662) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653039)

Actually, he's from the past. We're 235 days into 2013. 5975 days before 2013 is 16 years and about a third..........so mid 1996.

Cool! (1)

mitcheli (894743) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652403)

Now maybe the job market will improve! :)

Don't get your hopes up (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652501)

This claim, that baby boomers will retire, and leave the workforce, is completely unsubstantiated.

There is no labor shortage now. There will be no labor shortage anytime in the forseeable future.

I call bullshit (5, Interesting)

eman1961 (642519) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652513)

First of all, there is no glut right now of competent IT workers. I have lots of buddies (most elderly, so to speak, I'm 52) who have absolutely no shortage of work. I don't see it. I am a contract worker now - bill at a greater rate than I ever have in my life, and have more work than I know what to do with. I turn down 2 out of 3 contracts. I think that people who are not getting IT work need to hone their skills until they have jobs/contracts forced onto them.

I used to work at Microsoft - I never even *came close* to being stack ranked out. I am not saying that no one was ever incorrectly ranked at the bottom, but I never saw it. The people I saw at the bottom end of the stack rank - I could see the point that the managers were making. One dude was competent, but spent *way* too much time goofing off. And while Microsoft is mostly filled with competent people, make no doubt about it, there are plenty of semi-competent people there. There needs to be a system to get rid of the dead weight.

Now granted, I am not lazy. I am versed in OO and functional programming. I have developed many large projects in JavaScript, as well as C#. I have written books, written over 1000 blog posts, recorded over 150 screen-casts, and etc. I took a job writing a large system in JavaScript without knowing the language, then taught myself the language, including the functional programming / lamda / closure aspects in 3 weeks. I was 50 at the time. So don't whine about being old and not having the skills. If you don't have them, then get them. If you have them, then you probably have work. And if you have the skilz and don't have work, then blog / screen-cast, and you will have work in short order.

Re:I call bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652587)

I took a job writing a large system in JavaScript without knowing the language,

That was a feat considering that employers want a few years of paid experience with ANY skill. Not to mention having recent paid experience every single skill listed in the job description.

How did you pull that off?

Where are you? I may understand if you're in the Dakotas or somewhere that folks don't want to live -i.e. far away from the coasts.

Your experience is the complete opposite of mine. (Also Javascript, C#, C/C++, Java, etc .... ). I constantly get the "We need more paid experience." on the rare occasion I actually get feedback about my skills.

Re:I call bullshit (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652945)

I hope eman1961 also replies because I'm interested in his answers.

I took a job writing a large system in JavaScript without knowing the language,

That was a feat considering that employers want a few years of paid experience with ANY skill. Not to mention having recent paid experience every single skill listed in the job description.

How did you pull that off? ...

The short answer is that companies look outside for Rumpelstiltskin employees, who can walk on water and spin straw into gold for pennies a day. Internal employees are expected to just jump in and solve problems.

If you are already working for a manager or have recently finished a contract for him, successfully, it's easy to get a gig by saying, "I don't know that language, but I'll learn it and finish this project on time".

Of course, I've never been a fan of the "Language of the Month" club. Why decide to do a project in a language when you can't find the people who know that language? First find good people, then use the tools they know.

Re:I call bullshit (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653047)

Lie and then learn the language before you get found out.

Re:I call bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652841)

what the hell is so impressive about "1000 blog posts"

Translations (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652915)

"I work out in farm country writing ASP.NET webpages in C#/Javascript for $20/hr. I have a lot of work because all of the really talented young people leave for bigger and better things, I'm all that's left and I'm cheap."

Nice rant but missed the point. (2)

jasenj1 (575309) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652927)

The story is about the coming rise in contract workers. With lots of semi-retired baby-boomers around, companies will need to hire far fewer full-time employees. All the geezers will be happy to put in 10-20 hours a week with no expectation of benefits or a high wage - If they've planned properly, they have retirement income. Contract work should be a nice supplement, not their entire income.

If I'm a hiring manager, I can choose a full-time employee with required health, retirement, etc. benefits, or I can contract some old-guy who knows his way around and pay him more hourly but much less when the entire compensation package is computed.

Re:Nice rant but missed the point. (1)

ruir (2709173) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653005)

Meh, do you really thing that despite people being old, they are willing to put up with you, extra responsibility, work and work for peanuts? Consultants are consultants, they want to be properly and far better paid. Thats why you should keep employees around, besides having personalised assistance and better security in the long term, they are actually *cheaper* than consultants. A consultancy gig in half a year, can be 5 times the full salary of an employee. That is way people prefer to be constants.

Re:Nice rant but missed the point. (1)

eman1961 (642519) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653603)

Glad you like the rant ;-)

What I was responding to was the statement "If you think there's a glut of contract IT workers now, just wait.", and what I'm saying is that there is no glut. There *never* has been a glut of competent people. The summary basically says, oh no, some baby boomers are going to retire and work less and be contractors, and that if you think that the current glut (that is causing you to not have work) is bad, just you wait, because it is going to get worse to the tune of 10,000 workers retiring (and maybe becoming contractors, gasp) every day. WTF, who cares, be an employee, be a contractor, whatever, get whatever you can make the market pay, and don't whine about it. If you want more, do something about it. With regards to expectation of high wage, damn right, I expect. If someone wants me, they have to pay. If they want cheaper, I'll be happy to recommend some more junior developer. If someone else doesn't expect a high wage or benefits, and that is all they feel they are worth (retired or not), then that is probably what they are worth.

Regarding the tension between full-time employees vs. contract workers, the market will straighten this out. Adam Smith had it right. When I left (level 63), total salary plus benefits was $150k. Now I bill at a rate that is quite a bit higher per hour, even including benefits. Some people will opt for the security of having a blue badge, and consider that it is not worth the effort to be a consultant. I left behind a number of non-vested stock grants, and have since more than made up for that lost ground via higher billing.

Personally, I have a different problem. I *can't afford* to be a full-time employee. There are not many jobs that have a salary at > $200k (see the various salary surveys), and I can't afford to take a pay cut in order to be an employee. If you are going to stay at MS, even though MS pays 'better' than many other companies, it still takes a *huge* effing effort to get to >= $200k + benefits. As an aside, one of my friends (at GM level) has been at MS for maybe 20 years, and is finally at $350k, and when out drinking one night, he said that the amount of pain he went through to get to his level was so not worth it. Being a contractor is just an easier, happier life.

They promised me there were jobs in IT... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,10 days | (#44652583)

About damn time. Unless you're a coder or DB admin, you'll be hard pressed to find a job that is more engaging than first-line phone support if you are not;

a) 18 years old
b) in posession of all the neccesary papers
c) in possession of a couple additional certifications and licenses
d) having four years of relevant work experience

Our Overlords are Here (1)

DeepEye (706746) | 1 year,10 days | (#44652657)

Look no further here Infosys is here!

this is stupid (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | 1 year,10 days | (#44653505)

computers and the internet started to get big when these people were about 35-40 so unless they went back to college, none of those people are working in IT. I know zero people above 55 working in IT and I know quite a few IT workers in general.
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