Age discrimination is likely to lead to further skills shortages in IT as the workforce gets older, suppliers trade association Intellect has warned.
Companies that continue to discriminate will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage, said Beatrice Rogers, senior programme manager for the knowledge economy at Intellect.
"The UK is becoming an ageing population and it is estimated that by 2006, 45 to 59 year olds will be the largest group in the workforce. Continuing to discriminate will only hinder businesses' ability to grow," she said.
Intellect is urging businesses to invest in lifelong training for employees to keep them up to speed with changing technologies. It called for the government to provide tax incentives for training, such as a skills and training tax credit.
"Without urgent action, the situation can only deteriorate. To break this cycle, the government needs to supply the carrot as well as the stick," said Rogers.