Thursday, August 13, 2015

A clarifying graph of ages of laid-off Intel employees

Age distribution of a July 2015 layoff of Intel employees
Credit: Oregonlive.com
This is an interesting graph of a recent layoff of ~1200 employees, written up by Mike Rogoway and David Cansler of Oregonlive.com. Apparently, the employees were shown a graph of who was laid off (as part of federal law?) The actual data (XLS) can be downloaded if you click through.

I would like to see the distribution of overall employees at Intel - one presumes that they would be shifted to the left a bit, but I don't really know anything about semiconductor manucturing production/R&D to speculate on the median age of the workforce. 

I don't seem to remember similar graphs coming out of the 2003-2013 period of layoffs in pharma - I wonder why? 

Sure looks like the upper end of the age distribution took the biggest hit, though, doesn't it?

UPDATE: A commenter points out a portion of the article I meant to comment on:
This layoff skewed older – considerably so. The average age of an Intel employee in the United States is 42.6. The average age of an employee laid off last month was 48.1. Workers in their 50s were 1.7 times more likely to lose their job than the average worker overall; workers in their 60s were 2.7 times more likely to be laid off than the average. Meanwhile, workers in their 20s and 30s were considerably less likely to lose their jobs. Employment attorneys say this isn't unusual, and it could be difficult to make a discrimination case in court."
I gotta check out some more of the literature around this issue, see if there's more chemistry/pharma-relevant stuff.  

21 comments:

  1. From the link:
    "This layoff skewed older – considerably so. The average age of an Intel employee in the United States is 42.6. The average age of an employee laid off last month was 48.1. Workers in their 50s were 1.7 times more likely to lose their job than the average worker overall; workers in their 60s were 2.7 times more likely to be laid off than the average. Meanwhile, workers in their 20s and 30s were considerably less likely to lose their jobs. Employment attorneys say this isn't unusual, and it could be difficult to make a discrimination case in court."

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  2. Meanwhile, the benefit cuts likely hit older workers hard as well (my employer changed the retirement system, and since it was heavily back-loaded, soon-to-retire people or sort-of-soon-to-retire people (50s) got hosed) so older people have gotten the shaft (unless they're CEOs).

    I assume that people are hoping the short attention span will enable them to sell kids on jobs that don't pay much to start and don't last long, and if the kids won't do that, there's a whole bunch of people elsewhere who'll take them. It's like magic!

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  3. I can't believe I ever wanted to work for those people.

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    1. Well, from what I can tell, they're a company with great benefits and high salaries. At the moment, their revenues seem to be hurting?, I think?

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    2. I suspect most "careers" with Intel are probably shorter than a decade. They're also great lovers of H-1B over there.

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    3. Anon 4:02: I have a brother in law who is a long time Intel employee and from what he tells me, they are nothing like big pharma companies or silicon valley companies run by 20 yr olds. He is pretty happy to work there, and says that Intel probably has least amount of age discrimination in their industry and attrition rate is nowhere as high as other tech companies. I know it may be hard to believe, but people do indeed make a career there.

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    4. I used to correspond with an engineer who was replaced by H-1B at Intel, very early in this debate. According to one source, Intel is currently the #14 employer of H-1B visa holders.

      Intel is laying off US citizens, citing a need for restructuring, while pushing for expansion of H-1B visas, according to this July 2015 article:

      http://www.valuewalk.com/2015/07/intel-advocates-h1b-visa-lays-off/

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  4. Clear evidence of a STEM shortage. Give all H-1B holders a PhD! Or is it all immigrant PhD's citizenship! Who cares. Do it!

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    1. Staple their tuition vouchers to their green cards and doctorates!

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  5. It's still ambiguous from the chart whether, for example, 6.5% of all the laid off workers were ages 60-64; or whether, of all workers ages 60-64, 6.5% were laid off.

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    1. It's clear from the totals that it would have to be the latter.

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  6. "I don't seem to remember similar graphs coming out of the 2003-2013 period of layoffs in pharma - I wonder why? "

    You must not have been laid off in that period. Lucky.

    Those laid off in certain states got a printout of title and demographics of the retained and laid off. Think this graph is bad? It could be a lot worse.

    The graph I received showed that those in the median age group for each title had about 100% chance of being laid off. Additionally, certain combinations of gender and race were protected at the expense of the non-protected.

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  7. An interesting aside -- the data suggest that there are at least 30 septuagenarians working for Intel. I find that surprising. I don't think we have a single one in my spec chem company... The oldest person here I'm aware of is 68.

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    1. At some tech companies there are certain people who are totally indispensable, either because 'they understand it all' at some unapproachable and incommunicable level, because they have competencies in areas no longer taught, because they have cross-discipline education and experience, and sometimes because they have personal connections (gov't, military, industry, cross-disciplinary, academic, etc.) that have profound impacts on company representation and markets.

      On the employee side, we have retirements that are harder to plan for and afford, rising expenses for most lifetime goods (education, housing), rising costs of both insurance and medical care (thanks, Obama) and the ever rising costs of marriage, family, and related litigation. Then there are the costs of periods of unemployment, which can now be protracted even for readily employable people. All of this contributes to a "work till you drop" mentality that is becoming the new normal.

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    2. Considering how healthy we are on average at more advanced ages, don't make it sound like we're slaved to a millstone crushing wheat. I wouldn't want to get fired at 70 but i don't mind the idea of working to that age. The idea of spending a couple of decades on the golf course doesn't seem to do it for me the way it did for the Greatest Generation.

      "the new normal" also reflects fewer young workers supporting the social net. It sounds kind of selfish to me to think you need twenty years of retirement at peak physical condition, paid for by money coming in from 1.4 overtaxed workers who have the misfortune of being a generation younger.

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    3. Funny, I didn't think I was editorializing. I have been seeing a lot of people working well into their 70s, sometimes in some really demanding occupations, until they died 'in harness' or just couldn't work anymore (owing usually to health). For some it's a matter of preference and choice - for others, not so much.

      Don't worry about the 1.4 overtaxed workers. We'll tax them some more and immigrate our way to solvency - at least, that's what the brain trust in D.C. says. After all, it's worked for Greece, Spain and Italy, and the rest of the EU is sure to follow, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. (Now I'm editorializing, with full sarc).

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  8. So if there is so much data out there about older workers being laid off preferentially, why is it difficult to make a discrimination case in court?

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  9. Nothing new:

    http://techcrunch.com/2010/08/28/silicon-valley%E2%80%99s-dark-secret-it%E2%80%99s-all-about-age/

    Intel is a great place to spend your 20s and 30s, but after that, you better have a back-up plan. Heck, some of my colleagues didn't make it out of their 20s before they were laid off; they're now in the minor leagues at equipment vendors or (worse yet) in the solar cell slums making a fraction of what they did at Intel. In many ways, getting into the semiconductor industry is a trap.

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