Ageism in UX Design in Ireland: It’s worse here

Ultan Ó Broin (MUGATEAUX)
3 min readJun 5, 2022

A few years ago, I wrote an article for the Irish Times about ageism in the tech industry. I was based in Silicon Valley at the time. Little did I imagine I would be on the receiving end of ageism myself shortly after.

Ageism is rampant in tech, but also in the UX design side of the “industry”. Oh yes, the great empathisers, those who preach about walking in others’ shoes, about universal design, they’re at it too.

Ireland is worse than anywhere I’ve worked when it comes to ageism in tech UX, a universal form of insidious discrimination and micro-aggression.

Ageism in tech. Rampant in Ireland (Shutterstock)

But nobody speaks out about it. Many are afraid to.

Why is this happening? Many reasons. Fear. Jealousy. Infantile first point of contact in talent management. Hiring managers' privilege, and personal and professional prejudice. Some of it is because you’re afraid you’ll outshine them.

But mostly because they can get away with it.

A while back, I wrote to the so-called Commissioner for Startups in Dublin and asked them about ageism in tech startups in the city. Why was it happening? I didn’t get a reply. I met that person later on at a conference and they were most uncomfortable with me mentioning it again.

What are these discriminatory UX design types going to do when they pass the age of 45, or 50? Pull up the ladder? Trust me, betting against your future self is a hostage to your own misfortune.

All that stuff you read about ageism being illegal and really it’s the hiring organisations who are missing out is complete bullshit. They’re all at it.

Over 50? Then try adding in being Black, disabled, a Traveller, a trans person, or a woman into the mix.

The Double Whammy For Women Over 50 In The Workplace Today (Forbes)

Fight it when you see it. Name and shame. Sue where you can. Don’t be ageist (either direction) yourself.

Over 50 and gett the shitty end of the stick? Try adding being the wrong colour, the wrong sex, the wrong gender identification, the wrong physical ability, the wrong mental abilities condition, the wrong ethnicity, and the rest into the mix.

Except they’re not “wrongs”. They’re life. And they’re your across customer base too.

Anti-gay bias could reach “neutrality” in 20 years’ time which is amazing, but on current trends it will take 150 years for the same to happen to ageism. (FT)

The great resignation? Loads of jobs in tech in Dublin? PFO! I’ve been made feel worthless so many times by these ageists. My mental health takes a battering from their hostility and discrimination to the point where I need professional help.

That’s the experience of others the end of the age-shaming too. Reaching out to others saved me. It’s an ongoing battle.

Fight it when you see it. Sue these people where you can. Don’t practice ageism or endorse it yourself. Join the fight now before you have to. You’ll get no justice on Twitter.

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Ultan Ó Broin (MUGATEAUX)

Un concepteur d’applications mobiles faisant des recherches à Dublin. Je travaille à distance. Étudiant.Content does not necessarily reflect the views of IADT.