Many businesses want an exact map of their IT skills as they enter a potentially tough year, according to the findings of a large survey by the British Computer Society.

Out of 7,000 IT decision makers interviewed, nearly all – 97 per cent – said they needed to know exactly what skills their teams have. The interviewees were all UK based, and included chief information officers and IT managers.

Some 87 per cent said they needed to better map their IT skills against business requirements, in order to assess their position technologically. Over half wanted to store more accurate job profiles.

Nearly four in 10 wanted to work to “nurture” the skills of their technology workforce, the survey found.

The companies appeared to be taking early steps in what could be another tough year economically. Six in 10 of those surveyed said they wanted the business to work on strategy and planning in order to aid the IT department. Forty five per cent said they expected more business change.

“Current predictions of a fragile recovery for 2010 don’t reveal the necessary strategic business changes and tough decisions that will be needed to make that happen across all sectors,” said Cliff Lineker, strategic business development director at the BCS.

“Senior IT decision-makers are right to be concerned about making sure they have the skilled staff in the right roles to exploit the value of IT consistently and effectively to move the business forward.”

Lineker encouraged organisations to consider SFIAplus, a training and development standard created by the BCS. It is aimed at identifying skills gaps in order to create development plans.

What are your plans for staff retention, training, motivation and succession planning in 2010? CIO and Harvey Nash are conducting research on this, please add your views.