The survey revealed growing optimism about the IT jobs market, as firms increase their investment in IT systems. But it called into question whether employers were doing enough to prepare for the upturn, which could leave them exposed to future skills shortages.
Peter Hounsome, author of the report, said, "The trends are looking quite positive but employers are going to face increasing pressure when they are recruiting staff. They have to start planning for the future - the evidence is they are not doing so."
The survey, which brings together statistics from a range of research, found that demand for permanent IT staff rose for the fifth successive month in the last quarter of 2003, and demand for contractors rose for the sixth successive month.
Vacancies for permanent internet staff increased by 32% between the third and fourth quarters last year, and vacancies for systems developers were up by 12%.
Among contractors, demand for PC support staff increased by 19%, network staff by 18%, and programmers by 19%.
The growth in spending on IT has been reflected in growing business for IT suppliers, which recorded their largest ever trade surplus in 2003.
Analyst groups including Gartner, Forester, IDC, NOP and Kew Associates have predicted that the growth will continue over the next six months.
And for the first time since 2002, a small proportion of employers are predicting that they may face difficulties recruiting over the next six months as demand for IT staff increases.
Despite this, the survey suggested that employers were not doing enough to prepare for the upturn. It found that less money was spent on training IT staff than on training other employees.
E-Skills UK is to set up an IT skills panel of 1,000 employers to research future skills demands and to identify potential shortages.
This was first published in May 2004