If grandpa is still working

There can be no talk of youth madness in IT personnel departments. The industry is increasingly discovering the benefits of age. A strong message for IT professionals: if you like, you will always find exciting challenges. The date of birth does not have to be a factor.

“My wife knows that I need this to be satisfied,” says Peter Gethmann, who started a new job at the age of 79. The senior consultant had previously prevailed against several candidates. In June 2020 he started his new position at Adata Software GmbH. The previous project at Fiducia was quite demanding. But Gethmann never wasted a thought on the fact that it could have been his last. Anyone speaking to the senior consultant suspects a misprint given their date of birth. Does it really say 1941 – not a mistake? Tim Seiler, the HR consultant, had to follow up again when he discovered the year of manufacture of his hottest candidate. Gethmann has energy and esprit that you rarely find in the mid-fifties.

Personnel consultant Seiler works for grinnberg Personnel Consulting, a partner company of duerenhoff that takes care of the broad field of IT personnel consulting. For his customer Adata Software GmbH in Verden/Aller, Seiler was looking for a developer who was very familiar with the COBOL programming language. But should he really dare to recommend near the eighties? Why not, he told himself. After all, Gethmann’s profile exactly matched the advertised position. As an experienced personnel consultant, Seiler immediately felt: The man is good and has the necessary fire.

Simone Wiese felt the same way. She is responsible for human resources at Adata. “We only spoke briefly about age,” she remembers of her first direct contact with the experienced applicant. “Even so, the interview took longer. At that age, you just have a lot more to tell. That thrilled us.” Resilience, communication skills, teamwork – that’s how Peter Gethmann scored points at Adata. The senior consultant is no longer an isolated case. In the IT industry, you can grow old happily, even if a job change at the proud age of eighty is not for everyone.

Age is not a factor

More and more HR managers are turning around. The times of unconditional rejuvenation in IT HR are a thing of the past. If there are two good applicants, the younger one is preferred – this unwritten law no longer applies. Numerous studies can still be found today that claim the opposite. An IT job portal recently reported that only around 2 percent of all jobs are given to candidates who are older than 50 years. Many still remember how an SAP manager mocked in 2013 that 35-year-old developers were already far too old. Apparently, times have changed. Experience has long played an important role – and exclusively in a positive way. grinnberg personnel consultant Seiler confirms: “Given the lack of IT specialists, no company can afford to take into account anything other than professional criteria when recruiting. The focus is on professional and human suitability. Nothing else. ”

HR managers are well advised if they fully rely on the qualifications and practical experience of their candidates. So seniority quickly becomes a plus. “The age will soon no longer be there when you start an IT specialist discussion,” says Simone Wiese. Of course, your new colleague is pulling the average age of the team-up. “But that didn’t matter,” confirms Wiese. She is looking forward to many years in which the company can benefit from Gethmann’s experience. The generation conflicts also failed to materialize, according to the HR manager: “The ice was broken quickly, even if there were around 50 years between the team members.”
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Enjoyment of creativity

Peter Gethmann now commutes five times a week. He is happy to contribute and pass on his project experience and COBOL knowledge every day. He has long been amazed that COBOL and other mainframe languages ​​are little taught. “Many of these systems cannot be replaced at all,” he says and is happy because it ensures that he will never run out of challenges.

“I like the feeling of creating something new at work,” says the IT senior happily and emphasizes: “A programmer is an incredibly creative person.” Gethmann is looking forward to a long collaboration with Adata. With a smile, he denies that he is suspected of being a workaholic or of having no other hobbies: “I was able to make my job my hobby, nothing better could have happened to me.” He reports to children and grandchildren: “Everyone is happy that Grandpa is still working.”