IT skills market tightening on growth and upgrades

IT skills market tightening on growth and upgrades

New Zealand CIOs and CTOs are optimistic about economic growth, but are having difficulty sourcing skilled workers to support IT initiatives.

New IT projects and innovative projects are coming up in 2012, but New Zealand CIOs and CTOs are finding it difficult to find the right staff, according to a survey by IT recruitment firm Robert Half. The survey found that optimism in the New Zealand economy by senior IT managers was at 80 percent, and 20 percent of respondents said they planned on increasing the permanent number of technology workers in their organisations.

The main reasons cited for this staff increase were to facilitate business growth (40 percent), implement system upgrades (40 percent), and support increasing workloads (20 percent).

Despite this positivity, the survey found that 57 percent of respondents are finding it difficult to secure skilled IT workers, and 55 percent said retention was an ongoing concern for 2012.

Megan Alexander, general manager at Robert Half, says companies are increasingly looking overseas to fill positions.

“Over two thirds of CIOs and CTOs surveyed are confident that their company will invest in new technology projects in 2012. With more and more projects being signed off, finding the manpower with the specialist skills to carry out the work is difficult. We are seeing an upswing in the numbers of companies willing to sponsor people from overseas when they can’t find someone with the right experience and technical skills here,” says Alexander.

However, Alexander adds that many skilled IT workers are looking to join startups, and are willing to forgo large pay packets to do so.

“Though remuneration may not be as strong as what’s on offer overseas, candidate are attracted to the entrepreneurial nature of many IT roles in New Zealand and are interested in being involved in start-up projects where they can be a big part of the business and see quick growth,” says Alexander.

According to the survey, on average it currently takes more than seven weeks to fill a management level IT position and more than five weeks to fill a staff level position.

The survey was conducted between December 2011 and January 2012 and included 100 CIO and CTO respondents from around New Zealand.

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