Tag: Ageism

Diversity is a massive problem in Silicon Valley – meet the fund backing minority entrepreneurs – BusinessInsider

Diversity is one of the most contentious words in the tech industry right now.

Consider that 2017 alone has involved:

All of this happened in the first six months of 2017. And yet engineers and venture capitalists in the tech industry continue to argue against the value of diversity, either overtly or quietly.

After a summer of scandal around harassment in tech, former Googler James Damore argued against Google’s current diversity practices, and was blasted for his “scientific” explanations for why there are fewer women in tech. Amid massive industry outcry, he was supported by several high-profile VCs and entrepreneurs, such as Y Combinator cofounder Paul Graham, and Thiel Capital managing director Eric Weinstein.

Clearly, there’s still work to do.

The good news is some companies see diversity as good business

Comcast Ventures, the venture arm of US telco Comcast, in 2012 set up a fund specifically targeted at minority entrepreneurs. The Catalyst Fund has $US20 million (£15 million) under management to invest, and new leadership as of December in Kai Bond, formerly general manager of Samsung Accelerator.

It’s been running for five years, mostly focusing on building dealflow in that time. Now Bond wants to rebuild Catalyst’s brand as the go-to place for minority entrepreneurs — mostly in the US, but Europe too.

Catalyst has started writing bigger checks of up to $US1 million, he said, and will forge partnerships with third parties to support portfolio companies. Portfolio startups include fashion brand Cuyana, and customer messaging service LiveNinja, which was acquired by VoIP firm Net2Phone in January.

“We’re trying to rebuild the brand and figure out exactly where we can add value,” Bond told Business Insider.

Catalyst has just struck a partnership with Sylvain Labs, a brand consultancy whose services are pricier than what startups could normally afford.

Bond added there was a “clear problem” with lack of venture capital dollar flow to female and minority founders. “There’s no network support either,” he added.

In June 2015, CB Insights found that just 1% of funded entrepreneurs in the US were black, despite black people representing 11% of the US population. The figure is better for Asian entrepreneurs, who represent 12% of funded founders in the US but made up 4% of the population.


Bond thinks Catalyst might be able to help with the network problem through its partnerships. There are several disadvantages to not having a network. It can mean there’s no supportive network of peers to bounce ideas with, but also no network of older business mentors to advise you when the going gets tough.

“The plan is to help startups in two ways: to think about their brand and where it fits in the world, and the strategic role of brand in that early stage when you’re trying to educate people,” said Sylvain Labs founder Alain Sylvain.

The consultancy provides its services for free, but takes the opportunity to find startups to potentially invest in down the line.

“This is not about charity,” Sylvain added. “So many entrepreneurs are groomed for the ideal opportunities to start a business — parents who have supported them, elite educations, fraternities.”

There’ll be other Catalyst partners in due course, Bond said.

Catalyst isn’t the only fund trying to promote minority entrepreneurs. Bond pointed to 500 Startups and Y Combinator as “overindexing” in minority and women founders — even as their programme founders were accused of harassment.

But for Sylvain, there’s nothing so tightly focused on providing services. “There’s never been anything like this focused on this audience or entrepreneur. It really feels like something fresh and new.”

EveryAGE Counts – The Benevolent Society

EveryAGE Counts

EveryAGE Counts

The Benevolent Society

Ageism is discrimination or unfair treatment based on a person’s age. It can impact on someone’s confidence, job prospects, financial situation, health and their quality of life.  Like racism and sexism, ageism serves a social and economic purpose of legitimising and sustaining inequalities between groups – in this case between people of different ages.

The Benevolent Society is working with our partners and supporters to research the attitudes and beliefs that drive ageism, and build a campaign based on this understanding to address ageism in Australia.

The EveryAGE Counts research into the drivers of ageism can be downloaded here.

When age and life experience become a barrier to getting a job – SMH

Sydney Morning Herald
September 29 2017
Anna Patty

Libby Low had planned to return to work soon after having her first baby, but after the child was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition she ended up staying out of the workforce for five years.

When she started looking for a job in January at the age of 40, friends told her the best she could hope for was a job in administration, despite her many years of experience in management.


Libby Low took five years out of the workforce to look after a child with special needs. Photo: Christopher Pearce

“I had low expectations,” she said. “It is absolutely intimidating. When I started thinking about what am I going to do, I didn’t know where to start.

“My head was in a different place for five years and I had no professional confidence.”

While looking for jobs, Ms Low stumbled on a new recruitment program that was targeting people who had been out of work for two years or more.

Her application for the job was successful and she started work four days a week as a consulting manager for Deloitte in July.

“It’s been great. It was a lot about restoring your confidence,” Ms Low said.

Ms Low will find out in mid-November whether she will get a permanent role with Deloitte after completing a 20-week program

Deloitte Australia said it introduced the new Return To Work Program in response to the under-representation of women in senior ranks.

A spokesman said it was open to men and women, but aimed to help women who have taken a break transition back into the workplace.

“The program is part of our wider strategy to improve diversity at all levels of the business and forms part of our commitment to being an inclusive employer,” he said.

While Deloitte said it was working towards increasing diversity, a new report released by the Australian Centre for Leadership for Women found that many organisations have “a mono culture valuing sameness, not difference” and marginalised women because of their caring roles.

The Unique Leadership of Minority Women Report found that being a woman from a minority group, which included older women, was a major barrier to entering senior leadership positions.

“A resounding theme was that women from minority groups have diverse experiences because of their unique contexts, experiences of diversity and discrimination which shaped a unique style of leadership that was more people focused, resilient, collaborative, interpersonal, empathetic, flexible, creative, lateral and innovative in their approaches to leadership, problem solving and developing business solutions,” the report said.

The director of the Australian Centre for Leadership for Women, Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey, who authored the national study of women mostly aged between 36 to 55, said not being caucasian, able-bodied, heterosexual, attending private schools and prestigious universities created significant disadvantages.

“With minorities working hard to achieve and prove themselves amongst those who are mostly Anglo-Saxon, despite doing the work, it was highlighted that they are not valued and remunerated as they should be, but relegated to be the “back staff worker”.

The report said women’s maturity, life experience and professional experience were valued in the community sector, “but in the corporate sector, prejudice to age, lack of recognition for their knowledge and experience have excluded older women from opportunities. Here they have to prove themselves by working harder and being more assertive”.

Aloma Fennell, national president of Older Women’s Network said she was concerned that older women were now being recognised as a “minority group” despite offering a lot of value in terms of ability and experience.

“Irrespective of what we have achieved or contributed, we are [a] very age-focused society,” she said.

“Women, particularly over the age of 55, are thought of as too old and undervalued. By the age of 60, you are completely invisible.

“But one in 60 people today are in the over-60 bracket and people will need to work until the pension age of 70. What are they going to do for 15 years?”.


  • MartySydney,

    It would have been sensible to have included the name of the recruitment program which helped out!!

  • GianSydney,

    29 people reading and no comment yet. Doesn’t look like this issue is getting much traction which is precisely why this article is written.

  • incompatible

    After 10 years of “retirement”, I’d be tempted to start working again, since life becomes stale if you do the same things endlessly. I’m not sure that the economy has any demand for 50+-year-old software developers though. Moving to a large city to look for work would be expensive.

  • ZennKL,

    Middle aged men are marginalised in employment. As a 54 yo law graduate I have made countless applications for 2 interviews. The first yielded 2 weeks work in which I did a personal matter for the principal, and the second I did not hear from subsequent to the interview. It reflects poorly on lawyers and the NSW Public Service that they do no have the courtesy to inform unsuccessful applicants or offer them feedback.

  • gmannsw,

    What about about white middle aged men ? Is there a program the for them ?

  • Mere Male

    It also helps with getting a job to be female.

  • JOHNLWamberal ,

    Ageist stereotyping is just one factor, once you are out of The workforce you find that office software has gone through several iterations, the office is now “hot desking” and “agile”. All those not used to such changes will need to be pretty adaptable to navigate them. Even if they are, they still need to convince some 30 year old they can do it.

  • Fergus

    Amazed that such women struggle to get back into the workplace. Such people usually have such critical skills as emotional intelligence, empathy and attention to detail. Unlike millenials who simply see employment as simply the next step to the next job, such people understand ideas such as pride in their work and a capacity to value the aspirations of the outfit they work for. And for a range of reasons they need to money.
    In our experience they are less likely to be addicted to social media,they know stuff and understand that solutions doesn’t always mean “just goggle it.” Those organisations who sideline these people have a lot to learn about HR.

    • Generations Plus

      Really agree with this comment. We love the old school values in the work force and are thrilled to be employers of people in their 20s through to 60s. It’s a great mix and keeps it all real for all generations to be represented and we all learn from each other. Our employee in his 60s brings massive experience and an alignment and understanding of values to the table which has been invaluable for our business. We can’t believe such people are passed over for employment. We have had good experiences with work ethic from people across all generations but also bad experiences. One observation I would make is that we have had to train younger staff to trust their own judgement rather than defer to ‘groupthink’. It seems technology has robbed some of their ability to be individuals.

  • Susan

    I wish there was a program like this when I returned to the workforce 3 years ago. I went from a managerial position in a corporate to an administrator in a community services organisation. I don’t think it’s right to say that women’s experience is valued in the community services sector – the main reason women are ‘welcomed’ into the community sector is because we are generally more willing to put up with the terrible pay.

  • Rosie

    To answer the question asked in the final line of this article – I sit at home doing nothing, living off my superannuation which will be all gone by the time I get to pension age because at age 59 I haven’t been able to get work for the past 6 years. I’ve had two interviews out of all the applications I’ve sent off. Up until now I had never been unemployed since I started work at aged 15 in admin/clerical positions. I’ve been told straight out “you’ve got all the skills & experience but we want someone younger”. I’ve given up now. Heaven help the young ones out there who are unemployed too.

  • Older Sydney,

    How amazing is this to see this issue actually getting some air time. And what an amazing initiative from Deloitte. I’d hit 50 but seriously wanted to get back into full time, good, interesting and challenging work, like I’d left at 35. It took a series of incremental contract positions, but eventually I got me back in. It never occurred to me to give up.

  • Vicki

    Even harder your surname can easily identified you as a minority group

Ageism to be tackled in bid to change negative perceptions – SMH

Sydney Morning Herald
September 28 2017
Rachel Browne, William McInnes


Executive director of the Benevolent Society Kirsty Nowlan said the research, The Drivers of Ageism, showed a mismatch between perceptions about ageing and reality.

“Views about ageing have a preponderance of negativity,” she said.

“People believe that ageing is a process of inevitable decline. The reality is a lot of the fear about ageing is based on a set of myths.

“Ninety per cent of people over 65 rate their health as excellent. More than 90 per cent of older people live independently, not in a nursing home.

“There is a real dissonance between people’s beliefs and what is actually happening.”

The research found that ageist attitudes were most prevalent around employment with one-third of respondents saying employers should be able to force older workers into reduced roles, one-quarter saying bosses would get better value out of training younger workers than older ones and one-fifth saying younger people should get priority over older people for promotion.

Alan Williams, 62, is attempting to return to the workforce after nine years of unemployment. After his wife was diagnosed with dementia, he became her full-time carer. He said that now he is willing to return to the workforce, his age appears to be a hindrance.

“You don’t get told officially but I’ve gone for 22 jobs this month and only got two interviews,” he said. “A few others had strict instructions saying that I currently have to be employed”

Mr Williams had previously been self-employed, running a variety of successful businesses. He said that even applying for jobs at his age can be difficult, with changing technology and changing attitudes.

“I rang a recruiter and said that I was putting in an online application and that I couldn’t find anywhere to put in a cover letter. She said she never reads them anyway.

“Coming back in, technology has changed. I expected that but a lot of the terminology is different too.”

Mr Williams said many of his friends had been in a similar situation and had simply given up on looking for work at their age.

“Friends in my age group, over 50, mostly are just doing volunteering work. They applied for several jobs but just didn’t get any.

“I would like a bit more in my superannuation though. I’m happy to work until I’m 75.

“I’m even starting to look overseas so I can get back into the workforce. At least then I’m actually back in the workforce.”

The research, which involved 1400 participants of varying ages, exposed a number of other negative stereotypes about ageing.

However, it did not state an age at which a person becomes “old”.

Almost 60 per cent of respondents believed mental and physical deterioration were inevitable, 43 per cent associated old age with death and 39 per cent said growing older meant losing independence.

Negative attitudes about the cost associated with ageing also came out in the survey with 19 per cent of respondents saying the amount of money spent on healthcare for the elderly should be rationed.

People aged over 65 who took part in the survey had experienced ageism with 57 per cent saying they’d been told a joke about older people, 38 per cent reporting being patronised and 37 per cent being ignored.

Almost a third of older people said they had been turned down for a job due to their age and 14 per cent said they had been turned down for a promotion.

There were some positive perceptions with 73 per cent of people saying older people had a lot to offer younger people, 65 per cent reporting older people have a strong work ethic and 65 per cent believing older people are responsible.

Almost 80 per cent of respondents agreed that ageism was an important issue.

Australians aged 65 and over comprise about 15 per cent of the population, a proportion set to increase to 23 per cent by 2064, according to data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Dr Nowlan said the campaign would work with governments and the private sector over the next 10 to 15 years to address ageism, a form of discrimination that is likely to affect everyone.

As part of the advocacy, the coalition will lobby for a federal minister to represent older Australians.

“We view this as a long-term campaign of the same scope and scale as the NDIS,” she said.

“This campaign is a 10- to 15-year project aimed at shifting views about growing older.

“We have been given this gift of longer, healthier life and we really ought to make the most of it.”