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suzannei
Member

Can entering your education years be discriminatory?

Is entering the years you attended school really that important?  Can't someone be discriminated against by agism? Both ways, youth and elder?

ACCEPTED SOLUTION

How would you know they discriminated against you unless they told you outright? (Which is a violation of Upwork TOS; indeed, one posting was taken down recently, I believe, for stating they didn't want someone past a certain age to apply).

 

Would you leave the years of school attendance off of your resume?

 

 

 

 

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36 REPLIES 36

How would you know they discriminated against you unless they told you outright? (Which is a violation of Upwork TOS; indeed, one posting was taken down recently, I believe, for stating they didn't want someone past a certain age to apply).

 

Would you leave the years of school attendance off of your resume?

 

 

 

 


@Kat C wrote:

 

Would you leave the years of school attendance off of your resume?

  


 

Regardless of one's answer, I do not believe that your profile on a freelancing site would need to match the same as you would supply in terms of a resume.  For example, I would have my full address and contact details on a resume. Would I have that in my profile here?  Of course not and UW wouldn't allow it anyway.  With resume situations you are likely subjected to background screenings as well.  It's just not the yardstick I would use to measure a profile.  Of course in the end it's a personal choice (outside of the rules) as to how much one wants to put on their profile. 


@Scott B wrote:

@Kat C wrote:

 

Would you leave the years of school attendance off of your resume?

  


 

Regardless of one's answer, I do not believe that your profile on a freelancing site would need to match the same as you would supply in terms of a resume.  For example, I would have my full address and contact details on a resume. Would I have that in my profile here?  Of course not and UW wouldn't allow it anyway.  With resume situations you are likely subjected to background screenings as well.  It's just not the yardstick I would use to measure a profile.  Of course in the end it's a personal choice (outside of the rules) as to how much one wants to put on their profile. 


I disagree.

 

So, there's that. 

 

Your profile on any site, whether this one or others, should match what you'd send out on a resume. 

 

 

I do leave my years of attendance off my Resume. It is the advice most experts give if your past 40 or so. I dont understand why Upwork requires this and allowing potential clients the data necesarry to filter out my proposal because they know I happen to be 59.

I am new to Upwork, but unfortunately not new to ageism. I have been working as a graphic designer since I graduated from art school. We all want a level playing field to compete for projects. I make sure I put on my resume the fact that I am a highly skilled professional with a lot of experience. If its 5 years or 25 years of experience that fact should be irrelevant, no? I am not an over the hill, out of touch, baby boomer. Unfortunately in the creative fields this is a huge problem because that is automatically how I am precieved. To an even bigger extent, tech companies and larger web sites are even more guilty of this predjudice. I might get to the interview stage, arrive appropriately attired but with my long hair and goatee. I would get the stares from the hipsters with the oddly shaved hairstyles and ZZ Top beards, and be thanked for coming by.  It is an ingrained ageist industry. My dad was an advertising copywriter. He worked in NY at all the big agencies in the 60's and 70's. As he got older and more experienced, these agencies would begin to see his experience and age as a negative. Basicallly washed out of advertising by age 50. This was very hard on him and my family. I hope someone in Upwork management might take up this cause and remove the graduation date requirement. Thanks for listening!

I'm pretty far north of 60 and I don't believe that showing the years of my degrees has held me back on UW.  I do know people in advertising that were eased out of brick and mortar jobs because of age that have flourished as a freelancer. While I don't love that my age can be ascertained from my profile, I don't hate it either.

I am new here. I'm relieved to hear that you have found success on Upwork. That gives me some hope I too will be productive here as well. Perhaps if Upworks was around when my Dad was active in Advertising, things might have been better for him. 

But arent you at all curious what jobs you might have been awarded if your graduation date was not required on your Upwork profile?

Seems a simple thing. Is there an official reason out there that this single data point is necessary on our profile? Why not make it optional?

Donald, I'm 51 with 30+ years of experience and five grandchildren, and I make no effort to hide any of it. I've worked with a lot of tech start-ups and digital marketing companies (among many other types) and never encountered the slightest issue, though often the person who hired me was the same age as my oldest daughter.


@Donald J. P wrote:


I am not an over the hill, out of touch, baby boomer.

Nor am I. Over the hill or out of touch, that is. Iโ€™ve even modified my hairstyle and beard over the years. Thanks for teaching us old dogs that ageism is pervasive!

 

Best,

Michael 

I wouldn't be surprised if some people are seeing that I am obviously not young just based on my work history/years (I'm 50) and feel I may not be a good fit for their reading audience. That doesn't bother me in the slightest and I don't care how current some people "could" sound as, say, 50somethings writing for 18-to-24 social media, I understand it is the client's prerogative to make judgments on whom s/he wants to hire. We all make judgments. Clients are surely making them about me. If it's no, I'm not going to lose sleep over it as I have enough and then some of clients who think I'm just perfect for their projects. Someone doesn't want you? Geez, move on. I promise somebody does, if you're committed and are good at what you do.

 

Weirdly, though, I do get a lot of younger-skewed projects. My clients are happy with my work, so for me anyway, I am not seeing a career-hindring impact. Ageism (that's such a silly word) exists, sure...along with an thousand other "isms" of every potential description. We will be decided against for reasons we may never know...and chosen for reasons we may never know.

browersr
Member


@Suzanne I wrote:

Is entering the years you attended school really that important?  Can't someone be discriminated against by agism? Both ways, youth and elder?


I do not believe entering years is that important especially in freelancing.  Of course someone can discriminate for any number of reasons.  They can do it based on school years but they can also do it based on your photo, color of skin, location you work from, name, etc.  As in life you aren't going to be able to fully escape it.  These aren't people you want to work for anyway.  But again to your specific question, I would not perceive it as an issue if you did not indicate the years you attended school.  

Anonymous-User
Not applicable

We can only display our CVs on Update with concrete dates. Of course one can abstain from showing having attended primary school for example from 1950 - 1960, however, when it comes to university or jobs, the truth about somebody's age becomes apparent. If Upwork does not want to uncover ages it has to abstain from concrete years in the CV.


@Margarete M wrote:

We can only display our CVs on Update with concrete dates. Of course one can abstain from showing having attended primary school for example from 1950 - 1960, however, when it comes to university or jobs, the truth about somebody's age becomes apparent. If Upwork does not want to uncover ages it has to abstain from concrete years in the CV.


 Wait, this has become required now?  When did they make this change?

Anonymous-User
Not applicable


@Scott B wrote:

@Margarete M wrote:

We can only display our CVs on Update with concrete dates. Of course one can abstain from showing having attended primary school for example from 1950 - 1960, however, when it comes to university or jobs, the truth about somebody's age becomes apparent. If Upwork does not want to uncover ages it has to abstain from concrete years in the CV.


 Wait, this has become required now?  When did they make this change?


 With concrete dates I mean the years, that is the came in the CV on your profile.

I guess I am saying that when I created my profile later in 2015 I was not required to provide years (or it doesn't display them).  It would seem from the above that you now have to enter the years?

Anonymous-User
Not applicable


@Scott B wrote:

I guess I am saying that when I created my profile later in 2015 I was not required to provide years (or it doesn't display them).  It would seem from the above that you now have to enter the years?


 You added the years in your CV as well but obviously, you have been able to display your education without a year, only using a dash...


@Margarete M wrote:

@Scott B wrote:

I guess I am saying that when I created my profile later in 2015 I was not required to provide years (or it doesn't display them).  It would seem from the above that you now have to enter the years?


 You added the years in your CV as well but obviously, you have been able to display your education without a year, only using a dash...


I just tested with a new entry.  It appears as if the years are required.  At the time I entered my profile, again back in 2015, it obviously was not required.  There is no way for me to manually insert anything like a "-".  So at some point since late 2015, this has become a required entry.

I believe that in the real world of what goes on with Upwork hiring, clients are looking for freelancers who can help them accomplish their goals. And the number of clients who are intent on hiring freelancers based on their age is so small as to be not worth worrying about.

 

There are real problems that Upwork freelancers are facing. This is not a big issue or one that is worth your time worrying about.

 

So if you are asking whether you should include your education or not, out of concern about the years associated with your education... I would say definitely include your education.


@Scott B wrote:

I do not believe entering years is that important especially in freelancing. 


 Doesn't that depend on the service you're offering, though? We have many people on Upwork offering CPA services, paralegal services, even attorneys. I'm sure having the appropriate background is important to those clients. I'm not even offering legal services, but my law degree is relevant to the attorneys I ghostwrite for...it gives them a degree of confidence in the legal accuracy and regulatory compliance of the content I create for them.

Tiffany makes an excellent point.

 

The relevance of one's education will depend on the type of job.

 

When I hire artists, I don't look at educational background. I also don't read profile overview text or read proposal letters. I just look at portfolios and work history.

 

But for other types of jobs, I'm certain educational background will be of significant interest to potential clients.


@Tiffany S wrote:

@Scott B wrote:

I do not believe entering years is that important especially in freelancing. 


 Doesn't that depend on the service you're offering, though? We have many people on Upwork offering CPA services, paralegal services, even attorneys. I'm sure having the appropriate background is important to those clients. I'm not even offering legal services, but my law degree is relevant to the attorneys I ghostwrite for...it gives them a degree of confidence in the legal accuracy and regulatory compliance of the content I create for them.


I do not believe we are talking the same thing.  I did NOT suggest that the degree isn't important.  I suggested that the years attended were not that important.  I also want to be clear, although you didn't say it, that this is for a degree and not credentialing.  If there are credentials that have to be maintained than years are important to indicate that the credential is still valid.  Otherwise that you are an attorney is important.  That you are an attorney who graduated in 1979, 1995, 2010, etc. I believe would be less important to put in your profile.  

I had to look at my profile to see if it showed the years.  It does.  Since my profile picture shows my very white hair, I really don't care.  The more important educational dates show when and where I got my paralegal certificate which serves to support my 23+ years as a paralegal.

 

If they think I'm too old, they don't have to hire me.  Their loss, not mine.


@Scott B wrote:

Otherwise that you are an attorney is important.  That you are an attorney who graduated in 1979, 1995, 2010, etc. I believe would be less important to put in your profile.  

 I mostly agree with this, though I would expect that some would care if a person had 20 years experience versus having graduated one month ago. That's covered by work experience, though, so not necessarily critical.

 

Traditionally, those dates are included to allow for verification. I'm not sure whether that's relevant here. But, it's worth noting that it's standard practice to request them in the full-time employment game, where (in the U.S., at least) there are laws prohibiting certain types of age discrimination. Those hiring independent contractors are not subject to those restrictions and are free (in most U.S. states) to make discriminatory decisions in a wide range of areas that would be prohibited in employment. With that in mind, I'm not sure we even have a valid basis for hiding this information to avoid "discrimination"--though Upwork apparently frowns on age-based selection of contractors, it's perfectly legal in most states.

The unfortunate answer is that discrimination does happen here. Usually it is subtle, but this morning I actually found a listing flatly saying "do not apply if you are over 50". This is actually against TOS and it has been reported, but most clients are not going to be so foolish as to spell it out. They will still make judgments. We all do.

 

This happens to the very young as well.

 

Seems to me that there are a few things to consider:

 

1. Can the client figure out how old I am anyway from my picture or the number of years I say I have been working? If so, what you put for education becomes less relevant.

 

2. Is the education important enough that omitting it to try to hide your age would be worse than leaving it there?

 

3. Is it serving a real purpose in the profile?

 

In your case, Suzanne, you mention having 20+ years of experience, so immediately people know you are likely at least in your 40s, maybe 50s. But your high school dates imply that you are in your 60s, and you are concerned about that.

 

Frankly, I think the concern is warranted. I am not saying that clients SHOULD discriminate on that basis, just that I think some do, and so there's reason to be concerned.

 

So, what is the listing of your high school dates accomplishing in your profile? As far as I can see, absolutely nothing.

 

There is no information provided that would impress a potential employer, just the name of the school and the dates. But clients assume everyone in a developed country has finished high school anyway.

 

Furthermore, listing high school but not college immediately tells a client "this person doesn't have a college degree" -- which is likely not relevant at all to what you can do for them, but provides another basis for which to eliminate you compared to a similar candidate who has one.

 

In this case, IMO, having your education listing is doing more harm than good. I'd remove it.


@Charles K wrote:

The unfortunate answer is that discrimination does happen here. Usually it is subtle, but this morning I actually found a listing flatly saying "do not apply if you are over 50". This is actually against TOS and it has been reported, but most clients are not going to be so foolish as to spell it out. They will still make judgments. We all do.

 

I'm curious as to why this is presumed to be "unfortunate." What do you see as the upside to forcing either clients or freelancers to work with someone they would prefer not to work with? I don't see that as a likely basis for building a strong, ongoing relationship, or even for a smooth working relationship and client satisfaction on an isolated project.


@Tiffany S wrote:
I'm curious as to why this is presumed to be "unfortunate." What do you see as the upside to forcing either clients or freelancers to work with someone they would prefer not to work with? I don't see that as a likely basis for building a strong, ongoing relationship, or even for a smooth working relationship and client satisfaction on an isolated project.

First, I think it worth pointing out that I never suggested anyone be "forced" to do anything. Nor did I suggest that anyone be dishonest or deceptive.

 

But a profile, like a resume, is a form of advertising, and that means putting your best foot forward. If there's something in there that isn't making you more likely to be hired, or worse, making you less likely, I think you should remove it.

 

I believe it is unfortunate when someone decides not to do business with someone based on prejudgments that actually have no bearing on whether or not the person would be good to do business with. Regardless of the form of business or the prejudgment. It means that bias is taking the place of reason to the likely detriment of at least one party, and possibly all concerned. I'm not sure what I can possibly say to explain further; if you disagree, you disagree.

 

Is this unfortunate? I believe so. YMMV.


@Charles K wrote:

 

I believe it is unfortunate when someone decides not to do business with someone based on prejudgments that actually have no bearing on whether or not the person would be good to do business with. Regardless of the form of business or the prejudgment. It means that bias is taking the place of reason to the likely detriment of at least one party, and possibly all concerned. I'm not sure what I can possibly say to explain further; if you disagree, you disagree.


 Why is it unfortunate? You have to make executive calls on people over the Internet. You judge them every day and just don't want to admit it.

 

Such snowflake stuff. It's OK to judge people when you need to do business with them. That's how you avoid problems.


@Jennifer M wrote:
Why is it unfortunate? You have to make executive calls on people over the Internet. You judge them every day and just don't want to admit it.

 


I'm not sure why you would say I "don't want to admit it" when I explicitly admitted it in a previous post in this thread.

 

It is precisely for this reason that I think people should leave off their profiles anything that reduces their chances of being hired. People are free to judge, and other people are free to omit information that will prevent them from being judged to their detriment.


Charles K wrote:

I'm not sure why you would say I "don't want to admit it" when I explicitly admitted it in a previous post in this thread.

 

It is precisely for this reason that I think people should leave off their profiles anything that reduces their chances of being hired. People are free to judge, and other people are free to omit information that will prevent them from being judged to their detriment.


 Then I misunderstood what you wrote. I've been modded for saying it, but you have to judge people. This isn't a situation where you have an HR department protecting you or you don't get along with some guy in the office and you can just ignore him. You gotta work with these people. I'd really rather someone be able to post "don't want to work with women" rather than him being forced to keep it to himself and me waste my time. I'm not a delicate little snowflake though. I'd think he's a butt but then I can just move on. 

 

But the snowflakes get all uppity when someone posts a job that says "no indians" or "US only" and shoot themselves in the foot when Upwork takes it down *edited* So, since people are forced to pretend like everyone is welcome, I gotta pick up on signals from a chat with a random stranger, which isn't easy.


@Jennifer M wrote:

 

But the snowflakes get all uppity when someone posts a job that says "no indians" or "US only" and shoot themselves in the foot when Upwork takes it down *edited* So, since people are forced to pretend like everyone is welcome, I gotta pick up on signals from a chat with a random stranger, which isn't easy.


 And then freelancers waste time and connects bidding on jobs they won't even be considered for.

This is a dating site. You have to specify, when you are 90 years old, that you only want bimbos or toyboys of 30 or under. That's how it works.  (and hey - if the money's right . . .)


@Jennifer M wrote:
snowflakes

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

 

The OP asked a simple question: would she get discriminated against if she made her age clear by mentioning when she went to school. I said yes, and explained why I thought she might be. Hardly anyone has disputed this, though some people seem to believe she shouldn't care about this. That's fine, but nobody is asking for special treatment or being a "snowflake".

 

The people who report jobs saying "no Indians" or "nobody over 50" or whatnot also are not being "snowflakes". They may be offended at being excluded for what they believe to not be a valid reason, but they are just as entitled their feelings as you are to yours. You seem to take great pride in being blunt, and if that works for you, great. Others are different, and that's perfectly fine.

 

Furthermore, those people are following the TOS of the site. If a client wants to hire under conditions contrary to the site TOS then he or she is free to pick a different site upon which to list his or her job. Or is there some reason that discriminatory clients have a right to be choosy but Upwork does not?

 

At the end of the day though, who is really being the "snowflake" in most of these situations -- the freelancer saying "I just want a fair chance at the job based on my skills and qualifications and not what I look like or where I come from or how many revolutions I've been on the planet for or what wobbly bits I possess" or the client saying "my receipts can only be entered into Excel by a 5'2" blond male Swahili-speaking chain-smoking rhythmic gymnast from Peru"?


@Charles K wrote:

 

But a profile, like a resume, is a form of advertising, and that means putting your best foot forward. If there's something in there that isn't making you more likely to be hired, or worse, making you less likely, I think you should remove it.

 

This explains a lot--we have a fundamental disagreement about the purpose of a resume/profile/presumably interview. I recognize that your approach is much more common than mine, but I'm not looking to "be hired." I'm looking to find the right fit for both of us, and if true things about me are a turn-off to a prospective employer or client, I'd rather we both found that out asap and didn't waste each other's time.

 

I believe it is unfortunate when someone decides not to do business with someone based on prejudgments that actually have no bearing on whether or not the person would be good to do business with. Regardless of the form of business or the prejudgment. It means that bias is taking the place of reason to the likely detriment of at least one party, and possibly all concerned. I'm not sure what I can possibly say to explain further; if you disagree, you disagree.

 

Is this unfortunate? I believe so. YMMV.

 

Is it unfortunate that some people have biases that have no objective basis? Perhaps. However, having those biases, I would MUCH rather the client recognized them and refrained from creating a negative situation for everyone involved. 


 

lysis10
Member

Wouldn't having older dates be an advantage here? I fool everyone and went to the collage in my 30's. huehuehuehue

 

At least you actually went to the collage. Lots of the people posting here you just know barely got through grade school let alone has that master's degree in 2 years.

Although the conversation has veered a bit, I wanted to respond to some of what I read above.

 

While I understand the sentiment that says, if you don't want X, Y, or Z, post it and save us all time; there is (or should be) a line.  Frankly I do not want to associate myself with a site that allows postings that say don't apply if you are black, Jewish, Indian, Russian, Muslim, etc.  Are there clients on this site that would try to suss those things out? Probably just as in "real life".  I am certainly not suggesting it doesn't exist or people don't feel that way.  I am suggesting that a site that allows such overt racism, sexism, etc., is not a site I want to attach my name to or in anyway do business with.  

 

Now I do understand there is a way on this site to limit regions.  However, I take that in a more practical sense in terms of time zones, language, proximity, etc.  Just to get ahead of anyone suggesting that is somehow inappropriate bias allowed.

 

 

I don't want to debate anyone about this, but for reference purposes, I'll quote one example of prohibited site or site services use from Upwork Terms of Use (https://www.upwork.com/legal/terms-of-use/๐Ÿ˜ž

 

  • Expressing a preference in a job post or proposal or otherwise unlawfully discriminating on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, military/veteran status or any basis protected by applicable law;

 

 

__________________________________________________
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Boothe Luce
tlbp
Member

I work with clients of all ages. If some potential clients are screening me out because of my age, I haven't noticed. I believe that ageism is more prevalent in employment markets because many employers believe (right or wrong) that hiring an older employee increases their associated benefits costs. Additionally, employees with seniority usually cost more in terms of base salary. In the freelance world, you pay your own way on benefits and healthcare. Clients only pay for skills (which may be evidenced by experience) not years in a seat. 

 

Maybe there are clients who invest the time to scroll past great reviews and relevant work samples to find your education data and do the math. But that isn't something I worry about.