educated, with most Category 1 workers having at least a bachelor 's degree (though frequently not in an IT-related discipline); Category 2 workers often have a bachelor's degree or less. Furthermore, IT occupations are expected to experience a growth rate that is significantly higher than those of other occupations for the next decade, assuming that down-turns of economic significance do not materialize.
Despite rapid and continuing growth in IT employment, concerns have been raised that older workers are less likely to be hired and retained than younger workers who appear to have the same skills. Some who have gone on record on this issue, and others responding to the committee 's call for input, allege that widespread age discrimination is an important cause of the asserted IT worker shortage.
The committee found limited data useful in assessing age discrimination questions, but its assessment yields some important observations. Given the demand for IT workers today and the number of jobs expected to be added to the IT workforce yearly, elimination of all potential age discrimination in the IT workforce would not likely have a significant impact on tightness in the IT workforce in the long term, although it could have a small, but important, one-time effect.
The available data relevant to age and employment of older Category 1 IT workers indicate that the IT workforce is younger than that in other occupations with workers of comparable educational attainment, and that older IT workers (those 40 years and older) are more likely to lose their jobs than younger IT workers. However, these data also indicate that older IT workers are just as likely to find new jobs as are younger IT workers, and the length of time it takes for them to find new jobs is similar to that for younger IT workers. Finally, these data indicate (though not at a level that is statistically significant) that when displaced older workers find new jobs, their base salary is lower than that of their previous jobs, whereas displaced younger workers in a comparable position find higher base salaries.
However, the data available to the committee do not allow the causality of differences to be determined. The data available are insufficient to establish either the presence or the absence of age discrimination, and did not allow the committee to determine whether these differences are the result of illegal age discrimination, legal conduct by employers that may be perceived as discriminatory, personal choices made by individual employees, or the ramifications of a rapidly changing industry. As a result, the committee could not determine whether illegal age discrimina-