Despite increasing job cuts and a shrinking employment market 47% of businesses have been finding vacanies hard to fill.
The Business Operations Survey for 2008 suggests there is a shortage of highly-skilled workers.
Businesses reported the most common traits lacking in prospective employees were motivation, personality and the right attitude.
Almost one-third of applicants did not have enough qualifications or work experience.
Just under a quarter of businesses said not enough candidates were applying for the available jobs.
The businesses surveyed found most of their existing staff were lacking customer service or sales skills.