NZ ICT sector faces 'dire' skills shortage

Fronde CEO says there is a shortage of highly skilled IT professionals in NZ

In the wake of the release of New Zealand's 2014 Occupation Outlook by education and employment minister Steven Joyce, the CEO of IT services company Fronde, Ian Clarke, has said that there is a dire shortage of highly skilled IT professionals in the country.

Joyce said construction, engineering, information and communications technology (ICT), science and the primary sector are the hottest careers for 2014. Some of the fastest job growth was expected in the ICT sector, highlighting the increasing importance of the sector to New Zealand’s growing economy.

“As a major employer of IT professionals, employing over 330 people across New Zealand and Australia, we face the same number one challenge as a lot of others in the industry – the dire shortage of highly skilled IT professionals – despite the fulfilling and lucrative careers the sector delivers,” Clarke said.

“Fronde, for instance, has 18 vacancies, with this number expected to increase over the next few weeks. Four of these roles are for graduates, who are also in high demand.”

He said that while the outlook for IT professionals seeking jobs is rosy, “if we don't address the lack of students taking up science and technology-related courses we will continue to struggle to fill the fastest job growth areas in New Zealand”.

“Changing this means starting with secondary students, ensuring they know about tools such as the Occupation Outlook, and ensuring our secondary schools are properly skilled and enabled to help students find the best opportunities.

“It also means ensuring that IT-related classes have the same academic demands and achievement requirements as other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) classes, so they are regarded as appropriate for top students.”

Clarke said greater collaboration across the technology industry is required, along with government, private enterprise and research and academic institutions, all of whom are dependent on a rich supply of ICT talent.

“Leveraging our local IT heroes is another great way to inspire young people to choose careers in technology.”

4 Comments

john

1

The guy's the CEO of an IT services company. Of course he's going to say that - it gives the company a good excuse to bring in cheap labour on work visas. From what I've seen of the ICT industry in NZ - it's very slow, lots of unemployed IT people, but probably not wanting to work for $1/day like our cheap labour counterparts.
If there are any unemployed IT professionals out there, add your piece to the comments - as I really don't think there's a shortage of ICT people in NZ.

Thomas

2

Part 1:
Forget about NZ. Look at Australia itself. At least they are doing better than Australia when it comes to innovations.

Reality of Australian marketers/marketing and other areas too including logistics and supply chain management:
Australia is a country that has lost out in many areas and will continue to do so due to 3 main reasons-innovation, technical skills and education (all way behind). Retail and manufacturing aren’t the only industries that have faced challenges due to these 3 reasons; other sectors too. Add the niche strategy that Australia has used for decades via agriculture, mining, etc and that would be the 4th failure-putting all its eggs into 1 basket for decades instead of using the diversification strategy.

Let’s start with the tertiary education sector which few years back was Australia’s 3rd largest export sector (now 4th). How does it survive? Foreign students especially from China and India though lately South Americans, North Americans and Europeans too. How many Australians have a university qualification? Australia population represents 0.3% of the world population and just 25% of that have a university qualification. How many have a Masters qualification? Not many. Some to most firms in Australia consider Masters overqualified. Well, sad news for 90 to 99% of the businesses in Australia that represent small to medium sized ones – rest of the world have people who have either 2 Master qualifications or PhDs and professional certifications. Unless, good at entrepreneurship, not needed to study. Sadly, for Australia, that has gone behind especially when it’s niche strategy also got busted because Australia has been behind with innovations and technologies since World War 2. Also, how many foreign exchange students from Australia land in Asia? Not many compared to ones from US, Canada, UK, etc. So, those countries are learning about Asian cultures where as most Australian foreign students land in US, UK, etc (psychically close countries instead of the psychically distant countries as well). US, UK universities are still the best in the world and most are cheaper than the Australian ones nowadays as Australia’s become expensive for that so the universities that are on the same level as Australia are now the challengers. Which are those countries? Canada, Germany, Japan, Singapore, China (mainland and HK), etc. Addition to those, there are the blended learning (online) and MOOCs that are challenging the educational landscape, starting from primary education right unto tertiary one.

Thomas

3

Part 2:
Where is Australia for innovations and technologies? The country doesn’t encourage much of both including funding which is the reason why Australian startups end up in USA. Australia gets 75% of its GDP through services as it’s a developed nation though it has come out with some innovations but not that many compared to the rest of the world even with the basic innovations. Others have gone for coopetition like Apple,Samsung,Google,etc;Netflix and Amazon;Tesla and various automobile firms and so many others where rivals don’t just work together but innovate as well. Australia has zilch there. Then there is the blue ocean strategy as well where not only low cost innovations occur but a whole new market segment comes up. Rest of the world so many while Australia hardly any. Even New Zealand is above Australia when it comes to innovation.

Thomas

4

Part 3 (Last Part):
Taking marketing technology/digital marketing as the industry, here is the reality of Australian marketers or some weaknesses including reasons why Australia has failed (they’re all genuine articles that have come up in the last few weeks to couple of months):
1) Marketer study warns of skills shortages in digital marketing in Australia
2) Two-thirds of Aus marketers ‘aren’t effective at digital’
3) Aussie brands failing to embrace digital real-time customer service
4) Lack of skills a threat to projects
5) Is Australia That Far Behind in the Digital Market?
6) Big data policies lacking in Australian and New Zealand organisations: survey
7) Australian firms lagging behind
8 ) Australian retailers are digital-relationship laggards: Capgemini & Sydney University study reveals
9) Australian SMEs not meeting consumers on social media: statistics from Yellow Pages report
10) PayPal: Only 14 Percent of Australian SMEs Are Taking Advantage of Online
11) Latest ABS statistics: many Australian businesses still not engaging online
12) Australian businesses struggling with cross-channel marketing
13) Australian manufacturers are failing to invest in productivity raising IT: study
14) Average of 44 small businesses closing their doors each day, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data
15) Experts say Australian business being left behind
16) Small Business Left Behind As Australian Business Confidence Lifts: NAB
17) Australian small businesses are late to the online marketing party
18) Too little, too late: Is Australia losing the online retail game?

Some of the reasons for the above could be seen from the following:
1) Can Australia’s education system meet demand for digital marketers?
2) Aussie women lag behind men in numeracy skills
3) Aussies spend big on technology, but don’t know how to use it
4) Small Business Nation 2013 – Around 90 to 99% of the businesses in Australia are small to medium sized ones though most are neither innovative nor have much of technology (not tech savvy)
5) Australia is Well Behind Other OECD Countries in Pre-School Education
6) University rankings show Asian rise and Australian slip
7) Australian students slipping behind in maths, reading: OECD report
8 ) If Australia Could Get Over Its ‘Fear of Failure’ Tech Startup Firms Could Contribute $109B to Economy by 2033, Create 540,000 New Jobs – Google Study
9) Australia is no innovation leader: GE (connected to Australia lifts ranking in Global Innovation Index, but still lags behind New Zealand).
10) Australia at risk of squandering expat expertise as brain drain hits reverse
11) Is Australia Less Tech-Savvy than We Thought?

In conclusion, Australia needs to buck up a lot with Sciences including Mathematics and Technology as well as Innovation if wants to survive and compete with other economies even within the non-profit and profit sectors.

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