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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The disclosure that Intel is under investigation for age discrimination highlights what many see as an unspoken truism of the tech industry: it's a young man's game.

Why it matters: Over the last year, much has been made of the industry’s maleness. But there’s been less of a spotlight on its preference for youth over experience.

By the numbers:

The big picture: It's not just Intel, though they are in the spotlight at the moment.

  • IBM has also faced specific claims of age discrimination, while many say it's an industrywide problem.
  • This 2017 USA Today article highlights the broader context and the struggles encountered by many older tech workers.
  • Part of the issue, one industry veteran notes, is the fundamental "work hard, play hard" mantra is inherently ageist. Just as women are penalized for wanting to start a family, so too, they say, are older workers of all genders. Plus, they said "older people have seen the fire drills more times and are less willing to buy in."

Yes, but... Others say it's not as simple as just age discrimination:

  • One has to do with compensation: Many older tech workers have become higher paid managers and are natural targets as companies look to cut costs.
  • The other has to do with a skills gap, where older workers may be overly represented in legacy product areas, especially at large tech firms. Those areas are prime targets for cutbacks as companies look to invest just enough to keep existing customers. (Think Windows, Office, x86 processors, etc.)

Our thought bubble: While much of the age discrimination issue centers around worker bees vs. tech leaders, Silicon Valley also has a love affair with young founders. But as these companies move to the center of our economic and social existence, they need to tap the experience of workers and managers who've built institutions and weathered storms. Otherwise, no matter how smart they are, they'll keep making rookie mistakes.

  • As for the industry's silence on the topic, it's a fair bet that many prefer to keep their head down and pass as younger rather than carry the mantle of being the voice for the older tech worker.

Side note: It's somewhat interesting that Intel finds itself in the crosshairs given that the company has been a leader among big tech firms in trying to diversify its ranks when it comes to race and gender. Intel, for its part, denies it has discriminated based on age or any other basis.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”