I heard this morning from Matthew Lee, a self-described “30-something, highly educated technical worker,” about my story today demonstrating the frustration some middle-aged workers feel in the current job market in San Diego.

Lee said his experience has been different. He said Baby Boomers have so filled management positions in the region that move-up opportunities for younger workers are drastically restricted.

The result? Here’s Lee, in an e-mail:

As a result we have an epidemic of title inflation, where younger workers are promoted in order to retain them, but not given the authority or responsibility of a true manager. It’s not uncommon to see a company with multiple Director-level managers with no direct reports and no budget discretion.

The aging Boomers appear to have no intention of retiring, and many seem to be resigned to dying in their office. This situation means that there is little incentive for the highly-paid technical staff to stay with a company and move up. Instead, younger workers can easily hop jobs to higher pay, or work as contractors with no long-term commitments to the company. This creates a talent vacuum within a company, where highly experienced young workers leave after a few years and never grow into senior roles later on.

Lee said he’s spent nearly eight years working in software in San Diego and has seen the pattern repeat itself. He concludes:

Recently, many of San Diego’s companies, long having a reputation of offering low pay, are finally starting to recognize that they will need to pay a premium to attract and retain specialized technical workers.


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