When people think of the UK tech industry, they may think that it’s full of people in their twenties. The might imagine them playing ping pong, wearing baseball caps and hanging out for free beer and pizza every Friday. This image, born from Silicon Valley tech, has many tech workers worrying about their age, feeling ‘over the hill’ and wondering if they should just ‘let the young people do it’.
But the UK is not Silicon Valley, and tech workers here are not feeling their age.
Inner East London, home to the infamous Silicon Roundabout, is the only region in the UK where the majority of tech workers are under 35. This year’s Tech Nation Report states that in fact, 72% of tech workers across the country are over 35 years old.
“It’s no surprise to me. But I imagine that question foxes people who spend most of their time in the coworking spaces in Shoreditch. That’s not representative of the whole of the UK” answered Tim Robinson, COO of TechEast, when we tried to outsmart him with our Tech Nation Quiz.
“That’s good news for entrepreneurs in their second flourish, such as myself” said Paul Smith, founder of Newcastle-based Ricochet.
“I used to live in San Francisco and I felt like I never saw anybody over the age of 35 ever, so I think that’s a pretty cool number” said Helen Sartory from Lazard.
And thankfully, ‘older’ tech workers are not all feeling as down as their American peers. We asked our Twitter followers to share their experiences of ageism in UK tech, and the response was actually quite positive:
I’m 52 in tech as a #tester and just had a brilliant time at the @ministryoftest organised #TestBash conference in#Manchester. That awesome community keeps my mind young and my passion for my profession growing. To say anyone of any age (or gender, faith, sexuality) can’t is 😢😤
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