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Positive move for government to help the NZ tech sector

NZTech is pleased the government has responded to the critical digital skills shortage that is impacting the entire economy.

This is a drop in the ocean for the actual numbers needed to support the continued growth of New Zealand’s tech sector and the growing number of critical digital projects across multiple government agencies and large businesses, however it will definitely help reduce some of the pressure,” NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.

These visas will allow the fast growing tech sector and other sectors where digital skills are in high demand to finally start attracting some of the world’s best tech talent into New Zealand.

The Digital Skills for our Digital Future report released earlier this year highlighted New Zealand’s digital skills mismatch, driven by increasing demand for people with advanced skills while at the same time producing a low level of graduates that lack the required experience.

“To keep up with demand, between 3500 and 4500 IT visas have been issued each year for the past five years,” Muller says.

“This skills mismatch became a critical skills shortage with the closing of the New Zealand borders in response to covid-19.

“While new digital jobs continued to be created at a rate of more than five percent per annum, the major source of advanced skills and experience needed to fill these new roles was turned off.

“NZTech’s critical workers survey in July found that there were several thousand open roles for a broad range of senior experienced digital workers including product managers for software as a service (SaaS) companies like Xero, interactive media experts for gaming companies, software engineers, data specialist, technical architects and more.

“The great thing about the growth of the tech sector is that it is creating a large variety of jobs that can suit all sorts of people, and they are all high paid.

“The median base salary for someone in the tech sector is now over $100,000 or twice the median wage.”

NZTech and the tech sector have been collaborating with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Ministry of Education to start introducing new pathways into tech careers such as digital apprenticeships to help boost the domestics supply of tech talent.

Growing the local supply will take several years so these special tech visas are a first step in the right direction to ensure New Zealand has access to the critical digital skills needed to underpin New Zealand’s economic growth.

The tech sector has been trapped by the covid pandemic because of border closures and the struggle to bring skilled tech workers into the country.

Covid has throttled tech firms which are finding that hundreds of new roles cannot be filled via immigration.

NZ tech firms have had to start employing more and more people outside of New Zealand which is not ideal as those jobs will probably never come back to New Zealand.

With more than 20,000 tech firms in New Zealand the demand for digital skills has hugely outstretched supply, with vacancies throughout the country.

For further information contact NZTech’s media specialist Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188

NZTech We connect, promote and advance the New Zealand Technology ecosystem to help the tech sector and the economy grow.