A lack of skilled and qualified IT staff is preventing many UK businesses from reaching their full potential, according to a new report.

Almost half (44 per cent) of the companies questioned as part of CompTIA’s latest study believe the skills gap has a negative impact on staff productivity, with 30 per cent saying it affects customer service levels.

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of those asked by the IT trade group said it brought speed to market down, while 26 per cent reported a detrimental effect on product development processes.

There is some positive news for the enterprise world, however, with the results showing the gap is closing. In this study, 55 per cent of businesses said they’re at least close to where they want to be, up from 48 per cent in 2013.

CompTIA’s UK community director, Estelle Joannes was quoted by pcr-online.biz as saying: “Businesses of all types and sizes recognise that IT is a critically important factor to success. Despite this, the skills gap remains an ongoing challenge, and the results of our report demonstrate the need for more attention to this issue.”

Despite the gap, three quarters of the respondents said they’ll be spending more on IT this year, with an average increase of 4.2 per cent.