‘Colonial' laws stymie recruitment

Poised to capitalise on its global repositioning as a result of its merger in June with G8Labs, eServ last week accused the Australian government of using ‘colonial laws' to inhibit the company's ability to recruit local IT staff.

Ian Buddery, CEO of the telco and financial systems integrator, said Australia had colonial laws, which prohibited eServ from offering stock options to attract staff.

"We cannot share the company's wealth with our own staff because if we have more than 20 new shareholders over a 12-month period we have to issue a prospectus, which costs a lot of money to do. No such law exists in the US where IT staff favour stock options over cash," Buddery said.

Currently eServ has just under 120 staff but is recruiting new employees at a rate of 10 to 15 a month to meet its rapid growth rate.

As a result of recent acquisitions and its global strategy, Buddery said eServ is in a position to send local systems integrators into the world market and believes the "winners in this business are those with skilled staff.

"We don't use subcontractors; we can name the people who will be doing the work upfront. We don't get the work then source the skills, which is often a case of smoke and mirrors," he said.

Citing some bewildering examples of exorbitant bonuses offered to skilled IT staff in the US, Buddery said average wages here are 50 per cent less than in America, offering plenty of scope for Australian firms.

He said eServ, which will be publicly listed in coming months, is quick to capitalise on opportunities to win skilled staff, even in nonmetropolitan locations. "The town of Ipswich which is located two hours out of London has a BT lab employing 7000 Telco engineers and we are just down the road; so we make sure we have employment ads in the local paper every week," Buddery said.

"For those settled in the area with children in the local school it means they only have to go down the road if they want a change, instead of travelling to the city." Buddery said the G8Labs merger provides great opportunities because its customer base covers principal carriers throughout the world including Belgium, Spain and Italy with more 30 million-plus subscribers.

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