Just under six out of 10 employers (57 per cent) believe their IT staff require additional skills.
The figure, from the latest research from e-skills UK, the Sector Skills Council for IT, telecoms and contact centres, is an increase from the 2002 figure of 46 per cent.
E-skills UK said the findings highlight the importance of developing the skills of existing staff to increase industry productivity in the UK.
The 'e-skills Regional Gap - UK' report also found that programming and IT operating system skills were most in demand.
In terms of the supply pipeline of future industry professionals, the number of candidates taking an IT-related subjects in secondary education continues to increase every year.
In the UK as a whole, more than 135,000 students took an IT-related GCSE in the academic year ending in 2001, up from around 100,000 in 1998, with more than 50 per cent gaining grades A-C.
In the same year, more than 27,000 students sat A Level Computer Studies or the Scottish Higher exam, with some 75 per cent achieving a pass. More than 80,000 candidates completed a course equivalent to NVQ proficiency levels in 2002.
The report also finds that IT workforces in London and South East expected to shrink in next 12 months, while Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North are expected to experience growth.
The report recommends:
• setting up programmes that will help employers increase the skills of their IT professionals
• encouraging schools to fully engage in IT education
• addressing the specific issues identified within each region
• strengthening links between employers and the higher and further education sectors to ensure that course content and qualifications are relevant
• prompting employers to take up employee assessment and development programmes
• continuing to increase the number of GCSE-level computer science candidates and the number of students taking numerate A Levels
• ensuring that graduates are ready to enter the workplace.