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.”