07 July 2008

NZ desperate for IT workers

New Zealand is going to be left behind in the technology race if it does not attract more highly skilled migrants with Information Technology qualifications, reports the New Zealand Herald. IT recruiters confirm there are more jobs available than workers, and if the trend continues, the country will suffer from a critical skills shortage.

The Government has projected that Information Computer Technology will contribute to 10 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product by 2012.  Ajit Narayanan, professor and head of school of computing and mathematical sciences at AUT University, says there are not enough IT workers in the New Zealand workforce to fuel such an expansion in the industry.  At the moment, the IT sector contributes five to six per cent to the economy, and has 25,000 professionals in the workforce.  To double the productivity of the industry, Narayanan says the country would require another 30,000 IT professionals. 

"At the moment the total university sector is only producing about 15,000 graduates a year in ICT, and if we need about 25,000 graduates for the target for 2012, there is an immense shortfall of suitably qualified graduates going into jobs," he told the newspaper.

Narayanan said the country risks reverting from a developed nation to a developing nation, and that it needs to increase its outsourcing of IT professionals to avoid losing momentum in the IT industry.  He also supports making computing a "sexier" subject for students at New Zealand universities, as "the only other solution is to go abroad and to have massive immigration in qualified IT staff."

Paul Leacock, Managing Director of Candle ICT Talent Specialists, said an increased number of companies are sourcing IT professionals from overseas, but that the industry needs to improve its overseas promotion in order to attract more people to emigrate to New Zealand

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau

People interested in migrating to New Zealand are advised to complete an online assessment for a New Zealand Skilled Visa.

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