Immigration no panacea for IT skills shortage, says NZTech

Wellington’s LookSee campaign offering 100 oversees IT professionals an all expenses paid trip to New Zealand for a series of pre-arranged job interviews has garnered over 48,000 applications, prompting a warning from the New Zealand Technology Association (NZTech) that New Zealand should not depend on immigration as the silver bullet to the tech skills shortages.

NZTech, the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, Workhere and Immigration NZ, launched the initiative earlier this year. The successful applicants’ visits will be timed to coincide with TechWeek’17 in May, which will showcase the local tech industry.

NZTech CEO, Graeme Muller said the campaign had been designed to fill about 250 open senior developer roles in Wellington. “Once Wellington has finalised the LookSee campaign the plan is to ensure as many other roles are filled throughout New Zealand from the highest quality applicants,” he said.

The Digital Skills Forum, an industry/government working group on addressing digital skills shortages is about to launch a national survey to quantify the current shortages, identify the skills most needed and forecast their demand. Muller said this would be used to help fine-tune the immigration and education systems to better match demand.

He said the number of unfilled tech roles continued to rise as technology becomes more pervasive. “There are firms right across New Zealand that are still struggling to find enough people with digital skills, in tech firms and in organisations across most sectors.”

Meanwhile, he said the education system was critical to building local IT talent. “The introduction of digital technologies to the New Zealand curricula from 2018 for all ages from year one to 13 is a great step toward helping prepare the future workforce for the future jobs that will be highly digital.

“With these changes in the education system, we expect to see the supply of local tech talent slowly increase over the coming years to better meet the growing demand.”

He added: “Other activities to help develop interest in tech roles includes NZTech’s Shadow Tech day which in June will take young girls from schools and match them with a woman in tech for a day to get a feel for working in the tech sector.”

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Tags skills shortageinterviewsJobImmigration NZwellingtonNZTechtechweeklooksee

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