More than 80% of businesses anticipate trouble in finding quality people to fill vacancies, and computing is the most difficult area to recruit in, according to the Cranfield School of Management.
The Recruitment Confidence Index (RCI), produced by the school, showed the labour market is at its tightest for six years, with computing and engineering being the hardest areas.
The school said difficulties are currently at their highest level since the RCI was started in 1999, but said "throwing money" at recruitment would not help employers win the talent war.
It said 40% of 608 survey respondents expect to spend more on recruitment in the next six months, but Emma Parry, research fellow, said, "Too often we see organisations throwing more money at the problem rather than assessing which recruitment methods are effective.
"The need for strategic human management has never been greater. Organisations need to take a structured approach to development and retention, enabling them to 'grow their own talent' and have an edge."
The RCI is a quarterly survey of public and private sector employers that measures expected changes in recruitment activity over the coming six months.
Comment on this article: firstname.lastname@example.org