The growing amount of structured and unstructured data being processed by businesses is driving a demand for more database skills, a survey from recruitment specialist Robert Half has found.

According to the latest Robert Half Professional Hiring Index, the skill that was in most demand was database management, cited by nearly half (46 percent) of 100 CIOs surveyed.

This was followed by network administration or engineering skills (41 percent), Windows administration (36 percent), desktop support (33 percent and business intelligence and reporting services (28 percent).

"Big Data is becoming a significant issue for organisations. Many are struggling to manage the vast amount of information passing through the business, and lack the tools required to analyse it in a reasonable timeframe, using conventional techniques.

"Demand is outweighing supply in certain areas and companies are struggling to attract the requisite talent to support this change," said Neil Hedges, senior manager at Robert Half Technology UK.

As well as the growth of unstructured data, for example, from social media tools such as Twitter, Robert Half believes that data management is increasingly important as businesses prepare for changes in regulatory requirements such as the European insurance solvency regulations Solvency II or Basel III in the banking sector.

In addition, the recruitment specialist predicted a skills shortage in new technology areas, such as in mobile and cloud computing.

This view is based on the finding that 38 percent of CIOs said that investing in mobile solutions was top of their agenda.

Other areas of investment planned in the next 12 months included virtualisation (35 percent), information risk and security (35 percent), application development (34 percent) and customer and partner collaboration (28 percent).

"Mobile solutions have been a top priority for CIOs, particularly as companies look to provide remote working access for their employees. As new platforms such as cloud computing, tablet computers and smartphones continue to gain momentum, IT professionals skilled in these areas will be in high demand," said Hedges.