Almost half of HR departments believe they are suffering from skill shortages, Personnel Today's quarterly survey of readers has revealed.
One in 10 said the dearth of skills among their personnel staff is severe.
The results are further evidence of the need to up-skill the profession to enable it to have greater influence on the business.
Business acumen is seen as the key skill.
"There is a real shortage of people who have commercial experience and good HR experience," said John Maxted of recruitment consultants Digby Morgan.
Six-figure salaries are on offer for top HR professionals with these qualities, added Maxted.
Vic Daniels, of City HR agency Carr Lyons, said the ability to negotiate with senior figures in the business is also being demanded by firms.
"Everyone is asking for a forward-thinking, high-energy HR professional. If one walked through our doors every day I could retire at the end of the year," he said.