Almost nine out of 10 businesses rate the experience of their IT managers as more important than their qualifications, a survey by the British Computer Society (BCS) has revealed.

The survey of more than 250 senior IT executives and professionals from UK businesses found that 88% of organisations said their IT managers' experience was important to them, while just 41% highlighted IT qualifications.

IT knowledge rather than management skills were the key factor for companies when they recruit IT managers, the research found. Nearly seven out of 10 businesses rated IT knowledge as important, compared with just over half that rated management knowledge highly.

In most of the organisations surveyed, the head of IT or equivalent was the key decision maker in the recruitment of IT managers and was usually responsible for setting standards of management knowledge for new managers and in determining what training they would receive.

But almost two-thirds of those surveyed rated the quality of currently available training courses for IT managers as "moderate" or lower.

BCS chief executive David Clarke said the survey findings demonstrated "an alarming misapprehension" that experience counted for more than qualifications. BCS's Professionalism in IT programme "must play a central role in guiding British business and the public services sector to encourage and value a qualified approach to recruiting and integrating IT into the broader business," he said.

He added: "It is vital for British organizations to better gauge IT management skills using exacting qualification benchmarks. Broad experience is no longer as relevant as it was as IT progresses towards more defined delivery roles and working within tighter budgetary constraints."