New Zealand needs to educate or import thousands more information technology workers each year if it is to close a growing skills gap in the industry, according to a government-backed report.

The Digital Skills Forum, which was formed by industry groups NZRise, NZTech and IT Professionals NZ, said its study was the most comprehensive report on tech skills in a generation and should sound “a warning bell”.

The ICT sector employed 120,350 people last year when it created 14,000 jobs, but only 5090 graduates entered the industry the previous year and only 5050 visas were granted to immigrants with technology skills, it said.