Internet growth is spurring demand for newer specialised "impact" skills, resulting in a decrease in older, traditional IT skills according to industry review Icon IT Trend Index.
"Of the 1514 IT skills on the market today, 484 have sprung up in the past 12 months - the average for the past five years is just 250," said Icon's CEO Brian Youston.
And jobs in communications, network and Internet-related fields have increased by more than 44 per cent with 67 of 133 Internet skills being totally new, according to the survey.
Having put Y2K firmly to bed earlier this year, IT professionals with skills rooted in mainframes, legacy software and applications are finding jobs thinner on the ground, while skills in GST was one of the most prominent new sectors advertised.
"Our politicians and wider business community have every right to be concerned about the current plight of the skill shortages in the IT industry - industry simply cannot keep up with the demand," Youston said.
The new challenge for the IT recruitment industry is to provide tools and services relating to reskilling programs for internal employees and retraining programs for potential candidates, he added.
Skills that continued to perform well during 1999 were ASP, C++, DCOM, Perl Scripts, Java, data warehousing, Citrix Winframe, Visual C++, Windows NT, SDLC, Internet, HTML, Dcom, SQL, SQL Server, Solaris, Oracle, MS Exchange, Progress, MCSE, World Wide Web, Internet, Corba and C++.
The skills of the future according to the Icon IT Trend Index will be Rapid Application Development/OO, Visual Basic 6, Visual Interdev, CRM, XML, e-commerce, e-business, MS Site Server, DHTML, CoolGen, Internet information server, voice over IP and WAP (Wireless Application Procotol).
"Communications will be an important skill set in the new millennium as software development was in the 80s and early 90s," Youston said.
Compiled by Colin Gottliebsen on behalf of IT recruitment firm Icon, the Icon IT Trend Index is the result of more than five years of intensive monitoring of IT industry data including performance of skills, salaries, growth trends and graduate information.