Why higher salaries won't beat NZ tech skills shortage

The CEO of one of New Zealand’s fastest growing tech firms says businesses should not rely on higher salaries to gain or retain staff.

No matter what your industry, a chronic skill shortage can threaten growth and future prospects, making it important to lay a long-lasting foundation that will help provide companies with quality employees for many years to come.

The CEO of one of New Zealand’s fastest growing tech firms says ensuring businesses forge tight relationships with local training providers, not relying on higher salaries to gain or retain staff, and creating a corporate culture that attracts graduates, are all key ways to combat industry shortages.

Origin, a Kiwi company which provides local businesses with outsourced IT solutions, currently employs 90 staff in its Auckland office.

However, CEO Michael Russell says a lack of skilled IT workers in New Zealand is one of the leading threats to the potential growth of the business.

The shortage of expertise - a common problem faced by many industries in New Zealand - has led Russell to look closely at ways to increase the pool of potential employees and keep skilled staff in the country.

“With a current revenue of $14 million annually, we expect to grow to $50 million by 2020, so it’s important to us that there are enough trained and experienced staff in the market to enable that growth,” he says.

One of the primary strategies is forming close relationships with local training institutes, says Russell, which allows companies to be referred the right kinds of students and graduate skill sets.

“We have a strong relationship with local training academy AMES IT, where they understand the type of student we are looking for and refer them to us,” he explains.

“We have had a number of excellent team members come through AMES. In fact, three out of four graduates end up working with us at the end of their studies, so we see this relationship helping provide us with a long-term and sustainable group of skilled staff for the future.”

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