back to article Lawsuit klaxon: HP, HPE accused of coordinated plan to oust older staff in favor of cheaper, compliant youngsters

HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have been sued for age discrimination by former employee Daniel Cochran, who spent 26 years at HP, and at HPE after 2015 when the biz split in two. The initial complaint, filed in Colorado federal district court earlier this month and amended on Thursday, [PDF], accuses the two American …

  1. HildyJ Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Inclusion? Sure.

    "Inclusion is part of our values at HPE, and we do not tolerate discrimination in any form. We're reviewing this complaint."

    They've undoubtedly assigned the review to a "graduate" level employee who thinks people over 40 are senile.

    Corporate discrimination, be it age, sex, race, or anything else, is pervasive and corporations view lawsuits as a cost of doing business.

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Inclusion? Sure.

      I wouldn't be surprised if they think that. I've noticed a trend of film and TV appealing to younger audiences by making the younger person's decision be right, or have them have the last word, or if the older person is right, they're retiring and "past it", and the younger person uses the lesson to progress themselves.

      1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
        Pirate

        Re: Inclusion? Sure.

        I've noticed a trend of film and TV appealing to younger audiences by making the younger person's decision be right,

        The Resident is a perfect example. The least educated, least experienced and youngest level of MD magically out diagnoses everyone else, who are always wrong.

    2. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: Inclusion? Sure.

      "We're reviewing this complaint."

      Organisations often say this. It's difficult to see what a "review" will achieve other than putting the embarrassing incident on the back burner for a time. Usually instances of discrimination are obvious and the complainant usually obviously correct. A manager with a spine could make a decision in a few minutes.

  2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    HP hiring younger staff

    Is that grooming ?

    1. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: HP hiring younger staff

      Is that grooming

      Only if one wants to get "screwed"

      ... by the policy.

      Where's me coat?

    2. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: HP hiring younger staff

      "Is that grooming ?"

      Grooming is forbidden under the Covid-19 lockdown rules. Beauty salons and hairdressers remain closed.

    3. Psmo Silver badge

      Re: HP hiring younger staff

      Younger and less experienced staff tend to not know their rights as employees, the law with respect to time worked or be union members.

      They also tend to believe the in-house legal team with respect to the enforceability of some contract clauses.

  3. luis river

    HPE layoff only bad workers. !

    Consider these: In an age discrimination lawsuit against IBM brought on behalf of plaintffs Edvin Rusis, Henry Gerrits, and Phil McGonegal by Liss-Riordan's firm, it's suggested that this class could consist of almost 13,000 former employees who left IBM since 2017 after the age of 40.

  4. haiku

    A rattlesnake has more ethics than the modern corporation.

    As an HP user since the late 70's (including 250's & 3000's) I think that I can honstly say that Bill & Dave would be horrified,

    1. a pressbutton Silver badge

      Ethics...

      A modern corporaton has no ethics - neither did non-modern corporations

      The people who work there do (or should do).

      This is complicated (not really)

      TL;DR:

      An $evil outcome is very easily achieved by a chain of people just doing their jobs in a putatively non-$evil way

      1

      You are a major shareholder in $corp - aka a fund manager

      You see your $corp shares have not done as well as $close_competitor

      You looking in the accounts and see that the cost / income ratio is different

      You like your well-paid job. Your fund is under-performing

      You call the management of $corp and say 'make more money' - 'cut costs'

      2

      You run or work in $corp at a high level.

      Your shareholders have called you and said 'make more money' - 'cut costs'

      You see £close_competitor and one of your minions tells you they make more money because their staff cost less.

      You do not want to lose your job - or get taken over - or look stupid in front of peers

      You issue an order "cut staff costs"

      3

      You work in a corp at a middle level.

      You get an order "cut staff costs"

      You have a spreadsheet that says getting rid some higher-paid people will reduce costs more and have less disruption on BAU.

      You talk to lawyers who develop redundancy plans and schemes for redeployment that 'should' (no guarantees) be within the law

      You issue an order "cut staff costs - these people"

      4

      You work in a corp at a middle level.

      You get an order "staff reduction - these people"

      You work through the process

      5

      Colin / Cathy $older_person after a gender / race / etc independant process loses their job.

      I would - inside a 'just joking' clause suggest a "Corporate Morality Officer" who should be spotting this and taking responsibility for it.

      But I bet there is such a thing out there already - probably in the BBC.

      1. Mike 137 Silver badge

        "A modern corporaton has no ethics ..."

        Strictly, they do have ethics -"The rules of of conduct recognized in certain limited departments of human life 1789" [OED]. They just have no morals, just like some of those most active in a memorable event in 1789.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Actually the corporate policy would not fire them, it would just lay them off.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > As an HP user since the late 70's (including 250's & 3000's) I think that I can honstly say that Bill & Dave would be horrified

      Yup, until 20-odd years ago HP was known for, of all things, never having let anyone go during downturns. How low have they fallen in just a couple of decades.

      I stopped buying HP in the late 90s.

  5. Julz Silver badge
    Coat

    This Is About As Shocking As The News That Bears Shit In The Woods.

    The IT industry in general and the USA large IT corporates in particular, are ageist by design. That's not to say they don't discriminate in other ways, but the cult of youth is very strongly embedded and structures and practices are in place to support it. Having lived and worked through the change, it's not been good or pleasant. When I started it was common for technical colleagues to have been working for more than forty years at the firm (or it's predecessors). When I was last working for a USA corporate, the average tenure amongst the doers was five years. If you didn't shuffle up the greasy pole and slide over to the dark side in management, the large growing target on your back was plain for all to see. And don't get me started on the incredible shrinking number of women and the obsession with reinventing the wheel.

    I'll get my coat, it will be the one with specifications, designs and testing plans in the pockets...

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: This Is About As Shocking As The News That Bears Shit In The Woods.

      What gray haired staff have over the diaper brigade is life and professional experience. How many fads have you seen if are over 40 that flamed out, the answer is many. Also, anyone who is beyond wearing diapers realizes there is more to life the working around the clock, there is such a thing as burnout and work-life balance. In the professional area, they are aware of the history of the development of something. This is often overlooked as people who were not around do not know what was like to work in an office 25 to 40 years ago. Look at any technology and the gray hairs can tell what using the predecessor was like and often give a good idea how it developed. And sometimes they might have an example of the previous technology around in the attic.

      What a work force needs is a balance between gray hairs for their knowledge and wisdom and youth for their enthusiasm and curiosity (asking questions is always good). But Silly Valley does not realize (or the diaper wearing leaders do not know) is how technology and markets develop. A gray hair will have seen products come and go, companies come and go, and might have idea of what makes a product a long term success (e.g. it has to solve a real pain point for people that is not being solved with current products).

    2. BillG
      Happy

      Re: This Is About As Shocking As The News That Bears Shit In The Woods.

      Young people with limited experience don't understand that modern business consists mostly of 1) Fixing projects that go wrong, and 2) Preventing things that potentially go wrong. They end up doing lots of (1) because they don't have the experience to see (2).

      Their main weakness is not understanding unintended consequences of their actions. That leads to mistakes which the experienced competition can gleefully take advantage of.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: This Is About As Shocking As The News That Bears Shit In The Woods.

        While I don't disagree, being in the crusty end of the age group, what is needed is a proper balance. The young barge in where the old fear to tread and so come up with new ideas. But you need to experienced people to temper the enthusiasm so money isn't poured into a dead end.

        Experience is a valuable resource, but so is the enthusiasm and innovation of youth. You need both ion the right places.

        1. DemeterLast

          Re: This Is About As Shocking As The News That Bears Shit In The Woods.

          While you're correct, too many companies see their IT department as purely a cost center. That idea is part of the reason why companies love to embrace "the cloud," because it's seen by the PHBs as a way to arbitrage their costs. "Wow, v3.14 was pretty expensive, what if v3.16 was run on OtherCloudCorp instead?"

          IT is a thing that runs unseen and unnoticed, until it breaks. It's like the brakes on a car--carelessly trod upon daily, without a thought given to it until the master cylinder fails and the brakes stop working. Never mind that the driver should have been getting everything inspected regularly, and repaired or replaced as required.

          The greybeards in the IT department cost a bunch of money, in the eyes of management, but return nothing they can chart on a Powerpoint other than downtime. Besides, the CEO's nephew is "really good with computers," why can't we just hire him to migrate our product to a SaaS platform and save $millions?

      2. Version 1.0 Silver badge
        Meh

        Re: This Is About As Shocking As The News That Bears Shit In The Woods.

        In general the younger crowd normally have good training and ideas, unfortunately they are hobbled by the concepts that they have been taught but not learnt. A while back I was talking to a friend who worked for HP doing power supply design, he had been fired and replaced by college graduate after he complained that half an ohm in the power supply connector was too high a resistance.

        1. Richard 12 Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: This Is About As Shocking As The News That Bears Shit In The Woods.

          So it's supposed to be on fire?

          Explains a lot about HP equipment.

    3. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: This Is About As Shocking As The News That Bears Shit In The Woods.

      I've worked in the past for HP and HPES. Despite the separation there's no difference between the two when you are inside either one. Their "get rid of the greyhairs" policy was in operation a decade ago. Sadly the ones who wanted to go were the good ones and we got left with a lot of people whose skills had atrophied.

    4. TimMaher Bronze badge

      Re: This Is About As Shocking As The News That Bears Shit In The Woods.

      You must be old. You have specifications, designs and testing plans?

      Are you not aware of agile?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I work for the wrong people

    I'm 60+ and trying to persuade my company to get rid of me so that I can get the early retirement package. They don't want me to go.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I work for the wrong people

      I had the same problem. Potential redundancies announced. My department specifically identified. I put my hand up for voluntery redundancy and was told "Nope. You're too valuable to the company to let go."

      I followed that up with a suggestion if a salary increase but, surprise surprise, that went down like a lead budgie.

      1. seven of five Silver badge

        Re: I work for the wrong people

        Hey, I work at your place, too.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I work for the wrong people

      My experience is that it depends on who your line manager is, and if you are liked, or the manager is a control freak, or that management want to reduce the amount being paid to employees.

      People who get targeted are not the managers favourite, and the blatant admission where the manager said to one that they looked after them, just reinforced this. Whenever there was a cull, this was apparent.

      Also, in another process, those people being "coached" were all 50+ who probably were being paid well compared to younger people.

      Whatever HR processes you have in place for performance management, it will always be misused by management, to obtain the results the company wants, and it will be skewed according to whether you are a favourite or not. Meritocracy does not really exist.

      1. K

        Re: I work for the wrong people

        "People who get targeted are not the managers favourite"

        Amen to this, metaphorically speaking this is the managerial equivalent of the "Night of the long knives".

        During the 2008 crisis I saw this in action, the company owner called it "cutting loose the dead wood", and for every individual who was let go, I could give an explicit reason for it:

        Person 1 wanted preferential hours as they moved and now had a longer commute, so rather than being in the office 9-5, they wanted 10-3 (As they would "work" on the train)

        Person 2 kept arguing with the owner, but tolerated as they were the partner of a key-staffer...

        Don't get me wrong, the owner was not an ogre, and the business did get impacted, but the people who rocked the owners boat, were targeted first and foremost.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is all a big Corporate sham.

    I know of people who, in IBM, tried to move to other areas. Such moves were thwarted by senior management. it didn't matter that they were a perfect fit. It didn't matter that they had skills that IBM are desperately short of. Senior manager only care when its their ass getting chewed out by the customer, or it gets as pushed to the legal department - by which time its too late. I suspect its getting to be the same in HP too. Maybe one day senior management will wake up and see the mess they are making - but I suspect, while they are being rewarded as much for failure as they are for success, it won't be in my lifetime.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      In IBM, if you do manage to find and get an alternate position, they then target that group to lose a position because they've already factored the cost takeout into financials. So someone else then gets the chop instead.

      Nowadays the rumor is that managers are given a heads up cuts are coming, the jobs disappear from Blue pages until after the cull then advertised again when it's 'safe' that they won't be hiring someone on the firing line.

  8. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Another?

    Surely so many cases should flag up that yes, indeed this is going on at large corporations.

    There's too many over 40's for all of us to be greeting at Walmart...

    1. MrDamage

      Re: Another?

      Work at Lowes or Home Depot then. You get to hide out the back, avoiding all customers, and if one manages to track you down, you already know which end of the screwdriver to hold, so that immediately gives you 500% more experience than the average person who "works" there.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Rinse and Repeat

    I've said it before and I'll say it again - the sheer volume of knowledge, and more importantly, gains from mistakes already paid for - being shoved out the door is staggering. I'm 60+ and looking hard at when to retire. I like to work, most think I'm really good at what I do, and I'm taking every opportunity possible to teach the youngsters around me how to avoid the mistakes I've made, both technical and career.

    I watch juniors struggle with things I've seen and fixed ten times already, and do in 10 minutes what they've been fighting with for hours (or days). There is no substitute for experience, no amount of Googling or hours of watching YouTubes changes the fact that you haven't done or seen something before and maybe, just maybe, someone who has can guide you down the correct path so you too can gain "the knowledge" on YOUR way to being shoved out the door.

    So sad to think that many of the employees being canned are the very people that provide the highest returns. Guess that's simply not going to matter when the layoff spreadsheet gets sorted descending by salary.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Rinse and Repeat

      Thanks. A someone learning a new "hobby" myself (so not work here, but related), I've currently received

      so much help from those in their 60's and often retired.

      "I need a gas pipe clip for a caravan LPG system, but don't know what I'm looking for as locally only does mains parts" and the answer was "it's 8mm clips". That's knowledge of what a thing is called, where it goes (when the manual says "bolt" on the "device" to the "left" and there are probably 120 bolts in the thing!!!) is price less.

      I really should invest in biscuits, pints and a lot of praise for those willing to teach newcomers to a job or a skill.a

    2. son of sam

      Re: Rinse and Repeat

      I worked at HP/HPE and now DXC. I find the thought of sharing the knowledge I have learned over the last 35 years with the replacement workers for those forced out appalling. Lets not forget that as these companies circle the drain, the CEO's and executives have and continue to make out like bandits. Older workers hard earned knowledge is theirs, to keep. Sharing it only enables companies like the above to continue the abuse.

  10. trevorde

    Just like a movie

    Logan's Run

    1. Steve K Silver badge

      Re: Just like a movie

      Oh Ruuunnerr.....!

    2. Eecahmap

      Re: Just like a movie

      The novel's even harsher.

  11. fredesmite2

    There is a reason INVENT was.removed from HP logo

    Because HP invents nothing. It only outsources to the lowest bidder.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Cheaper, compliant, go-get-em, youngsters

    Bah!

    That's exactly why I retired last year.

    And it's glorious!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Incompetent bullshitters

    I'm not HP but...

    Because we've got incompetent bullshitters as managers there's no hope of things getting better... nothing is proactive anymore... it's all reacting to big problems that should have been addressed/avoided at the planning stage.

    They call this process 'agile'.

    Why relevant to HP? Some bullshitter types correctly determined that older staff are more expensive and they lacked the awareness that age discrimination was a) immoral b) illegal and c) the cost of the lawsuit, settlement and use of management & lawyer time would exceed cost savings of doing that immoral, illegal thing.

    Meanwhile, because they have no idea of how their staff actually do the job, their whole premise that the older workers weren't worth the extra was based on spreadsheets or MI that didn't reflect a good portion of the more experienced employees time was being spent on helping the less experienced staff (or fixing problems created by less experienced staff, or that much of the activity of less experienced staff was creating problems further down the line... my team's workload *reduces* when certain 'productive' people are off...).

    1. Gamberoni

      Re: Incompetent bullshitters

      I agree with all of this - except for c) the cost. My disagreement lies in who pays "the cost". It isn't the current managers, and it doesn't come out of senior managers bonuses. The costs are deferred and transferred to those who come along later - a bit like the inheritance coronavirus is being inflicted onto the younger generations.

      There will also be a number of people who can be "bought off" at the time or at a later date for far less than what it should really cost. There will be very few people who join a class action or a law suit, most of them will never claim Just looking at the lawyers claims that there are thousands at HP and / or IBM who should be getting compensation, how much will paying off the handful of people who actually claim cost against the short-term financial savings of the current policy.

  14. Mark192

    I slapped a wireless card into an HP laptop...

    ...to upgrade it from 'g'.

    It refused to boot because it wasn't on HPs baked-in list of approved wireless cards :rollseyes:

    Imagine the small but easily visible income from buying new components direct from HP.

    Imagine the permanent absence of income when that person/company never buys HP again... too much hassle to encounter things like this.

    Sort of leading this into on-topic-ness...

    Less experienced employees create a lot of hassle. This gets recorded as productivity while simultaneously reducing the productivity of the people that have to help, fix or overcome.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I slapped a wireless card into an HP laptop...

      Has anyone tried the HP website ?.

      I use Linux as my OS, and Firefox and Chrome, and can never get the filter to function when looking for laptops. It just has no effect in filtering.

      Same for calculators - can never get to the right calculator page - hit and miss (just tried, and it now works). Continuing the moan, their calculator quality has deteriorated markedly, and no other manufacturer implements RPN.

      And then there is printer cartridges..... i must stop now, else it will be a long post.....

      1. simmo

        Re: I slapped a wireless card into an HP laptop...

        For a RPN calculator, search for SwissMicros. They make clones of the classic HP RPN calculators (HP 15C, HP 42C, HP 41S, etc) with firmware from the open source Free42 project. They even have tiny credit card-sized versions of the HP15C.

        I nearly bought one, but hesitated because I already have my dad's 1980s HP 15C (still running on the original batteries!) and the Touch 11i Free app on my Android phone.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I slapped a wireless card into an HP laptop...

      "It refused to boot because it wasn't on HPs baked-in list of approved wireless cards :rollseyes:"

      Worse, they have a thing called "Feature Byte", a string of data that defines the usable hardware in the laptop/desktop at build time. You can't easily upgrade a device by adding hardware features because you need HP to change the "Feature Byte" to enable the possibly already existing hardware that is just disabled on some models to sell at a lower price point, or maybe the control hardware is there and you think you just need to add the interface hardware, eg internal speakers, plug in fingerprint reader etc., just connect to main board and they'll work, right? Wrong!

    3. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: I slapped a wireless card into an HP laptop...

      Many, many moons ago I was called in to assist a Very Senior Person with his company-paid-for Really Powerful Workstation. This was a massive HP tower, with lots of RAM, multiple SATA 3 drives (back when large-capacity SATA 3 drives were hideously expensive) and multiple monitors. It was the monitors which were the problem. The system would handle three 24” monitors, one on the motherboard DVI port, two on the video card, but the Very Senior Person wanted _four_ monitors, all of them 30”. (Exactly what he was doing was a mystery, at least to me, but he wanted four 30” monitors. I suspect an awful lot of Call of Duty, but I have a negative attitude.) He got two high-end gaming video cards and installed them and plugged all four monitors in. And got 800x600 on monitors rated for over 1920x1080. Reinstalling the drivers got 1920x1080, until he rebooted to finish the beta install, whereupon it went back to 800x600.

      I had a look, and checked the hardware. It was working elsewhere. I checked if Windows was set up properly; it was. I RTFM. And lo! Hidden away in the docs was a list of ‘supported video cards’, a list which did NOT include the supercards he had got, with a notation that non-supported cards ‘might not deliver proper performance’. We ordered cards off the list. No more problems, but the HP video cards lacked the performance of the gaming cards but cost considerably more. The Very Senior Person made a notation of his own, and the company stopped buying HP equipment. HP’s sales guy noticed after a while and came around to find out why. I told him. We had been good for tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales over a year. HP lost all that because they played silly buggers with video cards.

      We still have HP printers from the days before The Great Video Card Incident. For several reasons they’re being replaced by Brothers as they die. All HP desktop and laptop equipment is long gone, we bought a lot of Macs and generic hand built systems instead, the Macs in particular costing more than the HPs, but but Apple didn’t attempt the kind of nonsense HP did.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Funny thing...

    The cult of "younger is better" never seems to apply to the people at the top doing the hiring and firing.

    Wait, that's not funny at all...

  16. This post has been deleted by its author

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is no light at the end of the tunnel...and it is not a tunnel either...

    That is indeed the case with HP (I and E) all over the world.

    The 2019/2020 Work Force Reduction plan (on hold until the end of COVID lockdown) hit over 40 hard.

    Q1 results for HPI show -17% printer shipments and -4 points of share loss (IDC), the worse performance of any printer vendor.

    The fact that people do not print as much and offices are closed is no reason as all other vendors fared better.

    Which is shocking as it has the widest portfolio of technologies, sells directly and indirectly, has a good marketing engine, lots of sales people...

    Did I hear someone shout "management"?

    PCs are doing better.

    3D printing, the "growth engine" of the future, is nowhere to be seen. Hardly a surprise when the car manufacturing and aeronautics industry is in near shutdown.

    Full financial results on the 27th of May, but when 2 out of 3 pillars are not delivering...

    Q1 financials for HPE show -17% revenue decline.

    They lost a lot of expertise, knowledge, relationships.

    With this rate of decline further WFRs are to be expected.

  18. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    Don't sign?

    If you are being laid off involuntarily and given the shaft, WHY SIGN ANYTHING? I know a few places used to claim (PROBABLY illegally) that they would interferere with pensions if you didn't nicely sign everything. Do you think HP is NOT going to screw you out of whatever pension they said you had either way? I signed some non-compete at one place because I knew darn well I was not going into the same industry, and left on good terms. But if laid off, I'd consider carefully everything and anything I sign.

    "And, worse yet, after the Preferential Rehire Period is over, per HP policy that age protected employee can never be rehired by HP again."

    I bet some time in the past HP was caught laying people off then rehiring on day 61 so they could wipe out their benefits and seniority, they would then be a new hire again. Unfortunately, companies like this will agree to some rules to specifically address past abuses, then figure out how to actually use those rules for further abuses.

  19. chivo243 Silver badge
    Windows

    Hidden risk

    Of working for hyper-global-mega-corp. I know of a strategy... one of my relatives successfully used, get in, make your dosh, get out by 55.

  20. fredesmite2
    Flame

    My last review at HP was 1 line

    After 25 years my 3rd manager in two years wrote " does not meet expectations " .. because he never set any expectations. I had just turned 50.

    That is how they weed people out.

    1. perlcat

      Re: My last review at HP was 1 line

      The last place I worked had their performance goal-setting site made inaccessible. After many complaints and requests for help, I gave up and just concentrated on my actual job. They then let me go because I "was not meeting goals" and did not respond to an email they never sent. It was all a scam to deny me UI and save salary costs IMO.

  21. pogul

    Bit extreme

    > at the age of 55, after he was terminated following 35 years of service.

    Hasta la vista baby!

    (I’ll be back, for my coat)

    1. TimMaher Bronze badge

      Re: Bit extreme

      Too late @pogul, they’ve sold it.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Really ?

    "In 2012, it's alleged, HP had the oldest workforce in the tech industry, with a median employee age of 39."

    Really ? At least in the country of Camembert, such was not my view of HP back in the 2000s ! Basically, anyone above 35, therefore with any experience would disappear, every time HP would buy anything ... You know, swallow, then let go.

    It was to the point our IT department raised it as a serious support risk, since every support staff were juniors ...

    It even removed HP from deals, due to that ...

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Young = less experienced

    I do not understand why they go for the less experienced.

    Finding experienced people is difficult. And I find there is further between the smart people in the younger generation of IT hires.

    Just outsource everything to India or whereever. There you also get cheap people, with only a few stars in the mix - But the stars are there.

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