Finding and a maintaining a skilled information technology staff is becoming a bigger challenge for employers, a recent survey shows.

In a recent poll of the 1,400 chief information officers by Robert Half Technology, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based IT staffing firm, roughly one in four said recruiting skilled IT professionals was their biggest hiring hurdle.

While companies with more than 1,000 employees had the greatest difficulty recruiting qualified IT workers, smaller businesses reported that, in addition to recruiting, skills development was also a growing concern. As a result, many are turning to costly outside sources to keep their IT staff up to speed on new technologies.

"Smaller firms often rely on affordable external training providers or web-based resources that can help employees keep their skills current or earn valuable technical accreditations," said Katherine Spencer Lee, the staffing firm's executive director.