Is recent graduate an example of age discrimination?

A job I was considering applying for mentioned ‘recent graduate’ in their advertisement. I know it’s graduation time for colleges in the USA. I’m looking to make a career change and this job seemed interesting. I’m well past college so I won’t apply. But, this seemed like an example of potential age discrimination, although I know it still exists. And, I know companies have a type that they often fill a particular job role with, so I probably wouldn’t have gotten the job anyway.

They are advertising for an entry level position. There is no age cap for college graduates. You are trying to read too much into it.

Normally it’s a way of saying “entry level”. Many companies have two different hiring tracks, one for recent graduates (which doesn’t include any actual “below XX” age requirements but is intended for people with little to no relevant experience) and one for people with 2+ years of relevant experience. I’ve known people who had been hired as “recent graduates” with no experience in the actual field, but with several justified years between graduation and hiring (SAHM; part-time jobs while raising the kids to semi-independent age; worked for the family’s business…).

As stated above, “Recent College Grad” refers to the position, not the age. We would have vetted this person, either as an intern or in a couple different interviews, to be interested and enthusiastic about the work we do and be prepared to learn and accept our process. Age is not really a player as we very much include veterans who have gone back to collage after their military career.

As a hiring manager, I would be reluctant to consider people with additional experience for these positions as I would expect them to ditch us for better offers after a short time. Entry level positions are likely uninspiring to them but challenging to recent grads.

In my case, I don’t even know a person’s age while looking at resumes (nor do I care.)

There are some companies in my area that nearly entirely hire recent graduates. At least that’s what it looks like by examining their career listings on their website. IMO that is age discrimination, but they’re only hurting themselves. A company full of 22 year olds can’t have much collective business acumen.

I found them when I was last job hunting. Two of them had openings that I would have qualified for if not for the “must have graduated in the last two years” requirements.

I am of the opinion that this is an end run (perhaps unintentional? Nah) around age discrimination regulations. But, until someone mounts an aggressive legal challenge, nothing will happen to change the practice.

In my former company getting reqs for new college grads (mostly MS or PhD) was much simpler than getting them for experienced candidates. We were highly specialized and did high tech stuff, so we’d have to train experienced candidates anyway. NCGs had a lot of the most recent skills which they got from their dissertations or having the time to learn lots of new languages, so it worked out pretty well.

Unlawful age discrimination kicks in at age 40. But a SCOTUS decision in 2009 weakened the law.

I got my GED at 30, just because HR told me it would look good for my (locked in) promotion. Prior to that, at 18, I went to community college since they didn’t require a HS diploma to attend. My plan was to get my AA, then transfer to the full college without getting my GED.

I got sidetracked, but returned to community college in 1993 and got my AA degree in 1994. So in my early 30’s, I would have been a “recent graduate”.

I’ve faced this type of discrimination as a Computer Science prof. I mean, actually face-to-face and blatant.

Talked to people at companies who would be thrilled to hire my students but not me. That is, the person that taught the students what they knew. Despite the students refusing to use graphical debuggers, revision control software and on and on.

All because the students just learned some of what I know.

I would expect it more of a money issue than an age issue. Companies know recent grads will take a lower starting salary than someone who is experienced and is switching jobs for a better salary.

But the applicant will likely be aware of this and that’s the applicant’s choice to change to a different salary, not the company’s. People have a lot of reasons for doing this.

And it’s not all taking a lower salary. In my case, my students were getting starting salaries twice what I was making*. So taking a intro job would be a big increase for me.

Other reasons can include changing field, trying to locate closer to home, and on and on.

Again, this is for the applicant to decide, not the company.

  • One of the Big Lies in the media is that all college profs make big money. Most don’t. In fact, the situation has gotten much worse since I was a prof.

Not necessarily. In all the interviewing I have done in my career, salary is usually discussed at the last step in the process. And I admit some job openings list the pay rate, but in my field, engineering, it is almost a dance between the applicant and the hiring company to force the other person to say a number first.

That is age discrimination.

Maybe somewhat lower, but experienced people might have limited options, while new college grads can work just about anywhere, and are clearly getting multiple bids. Plus the experienced person might be leaving because his or her salary was too low, and is thus starting from a lower point.
Not that NCGs are going to make more than people with equivalent qualifications, but the gap is a lot less than expected based on experience.

How can you be so certain? I mean , looking for recent graduates absolutely can be a cover for age discrimination - but it’s also possible for a company to hire someone who graduated at 45 and who is therefore willing to take a lower salary than another 45 year old who graduated at 22 and has 20+ years of experience.

How so? If this was the case then every time a company wanted to fill an entry level position an age discrimination lawsuit could arise because older people (in most circumstances) will have more experience by the passing of time than younger people.

It has arisen at least once. (The guy who applied for the job lost. The court found that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act does not give the same protections to applicants that it gives to employees.)