The Information, Communications and Technology sector is one of New Zealand’s largest and fastest growing industries, according to the New Zealand Technology Industry Association.
In fact, it is estimated the New Zealand technology sector contributes 5 per cent of the nation’s annual GDP, and accounts for around 73,000 jobs.
So why is New Zealand struggling to educate and maintain a strong pool of IT professionals?
NZ Tech CEO Candace Kinser says that New Zealand is already grappling with a shortfall of 10,000 IT specialists, and a lack of specialist talent is one of the key factors preventing the industry from achieving its full potential.
“In the long term we hope we can educate kids and people coming through and cross pollinate from other industries into the sector, but we have a desperate need at the moment that we need to solve,” Ms Kinser told Fairfax Media earlier this year.
The New Zealand Technology Industry Association states the government is currently investing $100 million towards the IT employee shortfall in New Zealand universities, Crown Research Institutes and private research organisations.
However, the fact of the matter is that for many homegrown New Zealand IT workers, the employment opportunities available overseas are simply more appealing than those on offer at home.
That could be good news for Australian and other international IT workers looking to relocate, as many New Zealand organisations are now looking overseas in an attempt to attract the people they need.
Last year, Orion Health Chief Executive Ian McCrae told the New Zealand Herald that his company looks to attract recruits who will excel in their role, even if they have to search offshore as a result.
“If we could find people it would mean more of our development would occur in New Zealand. If we can’t find the resources here, we have no choice but to hire people elsewhere,” he said.
As New Zealand’s IT skills shortfall becomes more severe, international workers would do well to polish up their CVs and consider taking a trip to the Land of the Long White Cloud.