A shortage of IT workers as part of the staff is the top IT-related concern of C-level executives, according to new research.

Close to 60% of 749 CEOs, CIOs and other C-level executives reported in a global survey by the survey by the IT Governance Institute (ITGI) believe that lack of IT staff continues to pose a problem in their organisation.

That number has grown since 2005, when 35% of those polled in a similar survey reported insufficient IT staff as an issue.

Close to 50% of those polled said IT service delivery problems are the second most common problem they have experienced with IT in the past 12 months, and more than one-third (38%) also consider staff with inadequate skills a common problem.

The survey was commissioned by the IT Governance Institute (ITGI) and conducted between July and October 2007 in 23 countries, examined C-level executives' take on IT and the problems they face with their internal organisation. The ITGI does not comment on how the potential economic slowdown might affect the survey’s findings.

The survey also found that 93% said IT was somewhat to very important to the overall corporate strategy, a number that increased by 6% since 2005.

Yet less than one-third (32 per cent) reported that IT is always on the agenda at board meetings (up from 25 per cent in 2005).

ITGI, which is the research arm of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, reports that IT and business relations could still improve. For instance, 36% of respondents reported that alignment between corporate and IT strategy is average, poor or very poor.

But ITGI officials say despite a potential economic recession and reports of layoffs, IT workers continue to be in high demand and that IT is growing in importance to the business.

"We are seeing an increased demand for qualified information technology professionals throughout the industry," said Lynn Lawton, international president of ITGI, in a statement. "Without a well-trained, fully staffed IT department, the bottom line is that many organisations around the world are needlessly sacrificing money, productivity and competitive advantage."