IT employers must invest more in skills if the UK is to remain in the top eight countries for productivity by 2020, according to a report on skills in the UK.
It says 10 million people need to improve their skills, but just half are likely to do so.
The result is that the skills, number of jobs and productivity in the UK will suffer, according to the Ambition 2020 report by Investors in People.
The technology industry will play a crucial role in preventing the UK's slide down the international rankings by improving workers' skills.
Chris Humphries, chief executive of the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, which has strategic responsibility for Investors in People, said: "In the current economic climate, it's more important than ever that businesses are able to get the best out of their people. This means challenging and inspiring managers and employees at all levels to achieve their potential: employers have to be ambitious and act now to develop the skills they will need in future. This will improve their productivity and performance, benefitting them, their employees, and the IT and technology industry as a whole."
The organisation says businesses that don't train and up-skill their staff are two and a half times more likely to fail than those that do.
It says: "Formal training is only one method of encouraging skills development - there are many on-the-job techniques that can help employees keep growing. Mentoring, shadowing schemes and more regular feedback can all play a key part in unlocking an employee's full potential and performance."