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NZTech Update – Warning: CEO’s gripe of the week!

Hi Readers

I don’t want to start your week with a gripe, but I am incredibly frustrated and I feel like sharing it with someone! I keep hearing from tech firms in New Zealand that there is a real shortage of talent, that they have so many open roles and struggle to fill them. I keep hearing that someone needs to fix this. However, I am beginning to get the feeling that the issue might not be as big as everyone is making out…

NZTech puts an enormous amount of effort into improving the flow of tech skills and talent into the tech sector and across the economy. This week alone we are hosting about 400 tech teachers, principals and Ministry of Education folk at our annual Education and Technology Summit to work on accelerating the uptake of digital technology teaching in schools. We have staff attending the Digital Curricula Implementation working groups in Wellington and have a full day session with the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) reviewing the ICT Grad Schools and looking into ways to improve talent flow from the schools to the sector. So, here’s my first gripe, the Grad Schools are producing excellent talent, yet they struggle to gain internships and then jobs.

We also have a survey in the market right now asking organisations to provide us information on their current tech skill needs and projected needs. Here is exactly what is frustrating me, we have invited 400 tech firms to respond to this survey but so far only 28 have taken the 15 minutes to share this vital information. To inform education and immigration policy we need input. I can’t believe this issue isn’t important anymore, so I can only guess that individual firms don’t feel any sense of responsibility and they assume someone else can fix this for them.

Yet another frustration in this space has been our experience with the LookSee campaign which we worked with WorkHere to produce in Wellington with the support of WREDA. The total investment in this project is currently around $700,000 and yet the tech sector appears to be pretty blasé about the effort being put in. It was a real struggle to get tech firms to engage with the same vigour that they had when complaining they struggle to find talent! The campaign attracted 48,703 applicants, 5,000 of them from Silicon Valley alone. Wellington tech firms were presented with 1,900 pre-screened, video interviewed candidates. The funds were available to fly 100 people to New Zealand but only 93 were offered interviews. This simply doesn’t make sense!

Now we have a database of thousands of senior developers that would like to come and work in New Zealand, yet we can’t find them jobs. A recent survey of applicants found that 19,049 are still interested in job opportunities in New Zealand. A staggering 74% said they would fly themselves to New Zealand for an interview. 72% said they could move here within 6 months and another 20% said within a year. We have 1,979 machine learning, AI, robotics developers, 335 data scientists, 1,185 cyber security specialists, 1,861 business analysts, 2,261 mobile app developers on standby.

You can imagine my frustration when I hear yet another story of the critical shortage of skills that is impacting on the tech sector. Of course NZTech will continue to ensure the right tech talent is available at the right time so New Zealand firms can continue to grow and prosper. However, I believe it is time that the very firms that make the most noise about this issue stand up and help us help them!

Apologies for the gripe, this is an issue I feel very strongly about.

All the best


14 September

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Read out Tech Manifesto


Join Canterbury Tech on 4 July for talks on digital sales and exporting. Also, hear international thought leader Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino discuss IoT; A Revolution in Health and Wellbeing on 12 July in Christchurch.

Join us for lunch at our Developing Diversity event on 5 July in Wellington. Meanwhile, Rachel Kelly, NZTech Deputy Chair and Chair of the 2017 New Zealand CIO Summit shares her thoughts on what it means being a human in a world of technology.

Due to high demand, more tickets are now available for FinTechNZ Connect in Auckland on 17 July. The Christchurch event is now sold out and some tickets are still available for Wellington on June 28.


Congratulations to NZTech member Solity Software for securing a major contract with the Mexican Government. Read more about their big win for the tech sector here.

Congratulations also to all our members who were both finalists and winners in last week’s 2017 Reseller News Women in ICT Awards. The Awards recognise female excellence across the industry.

Callaghan have released a new infographic in their series, the latest, Wearable Tech.  If you haven’t already entered their C-Prize Challenge, entries close 2 July.


NZTech Board nominations have closed and electronic voting is now open with a record number of 21 nominees vying for seven available positions on the NZTech Board. Electronic voting closes on 7 July. Meet our 2017 board nominees here.

Watch this video message from the GCIO, Colin MacDonald, as Chair of the OECD Digital Government Officials, on the relevance of the digital transformation and its implications for public sectors, Putting citizens at the centre.

Join the Hon Simon Bridges in launching the research report, The Internet of Things – Accelerating a Connected New Zealand on 29 June in Wellington. Only 14 percent of large kiwi businesses have deployed IoT.

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