What are employers looking for in 2012?

Two leading IT employers in New Zealand outline what they need in their IT teams this year

The beginning of the year can bring with it a desire for a change in career. By all accounts, skilled workers are in high demand in New Zealand across the spectrum of IT roles and technologies, but what are IT employers looking for in candidates?

Orion Health

In the health sector, a combination of a passion for technology and a desire to help people are a must, says Amanda Ivanson, marketing manager at Orion Health.

She says the company places a great importance on culture fit, and actively weeds out potential candidates who might not fit the particular culture of the company.

“Because of the level of scrutiny placed in the health sector we maintain a certain threshold when it comes to hiring candidates,” says Ivanson.

“It’s important for us that people are capable of adapting to the fast paced environment.”

In terms of skills, Ivanson says Orion is always in need of experienced Java developers, application testers, and software engineers, but also has roles for business analysts, project managers, and support staff.

The e-health software company has undergone tremendous growth in the past few years, opening offices in Spain, France, and the US, as well as development shops in Canberra, Thailand, and Christchurch.

Last year the company sought to fill over 100 IT roles globally, and Ivanson says there are still 100 roles that need to be filled this year.

She expects Orion to have 600 staff by the end of 2013, the majority of whom will be based in Auckland.

Orion is bringing on board around 30 new IT graduates in 2012, but the company which joked last year that it was the cause of the IT skills shortage in New Zealand, says it is facing increasing competition in a shrinking talent pool.

“The IT jobs market is candidate-short across the board. We’re fighting for the cream of the crop with many other large companies, like Microsoft,” says Ivanson.

In February of last year, Orion opened a development shop in Christchurch, only weeks before the February 22 earthquake, but Ivanson maintains this has not deterred the company from seeking talent in the Canterbury region.

“Obviously it’s been unsettling for our people down there, but this hasn’t changed our need and focus on building up the team in Christchurch,” says Ivanson.

She says the development shop has doubled in size over the past year, partly fuelled by a new business relationship with the Canterbury District Health Board.

Orion purchased Microsoft’s suite of hospital information software (HIS) in October of last year. This software is being developed mainly in Orion’s Thailand development shop, but is being supported by staff from New Zealand.

Ivanson says workers who are open to working in different areas of the business are increasingly valuable to the company.

“We want people who are willing to grow their career paths in other areas, whether it be in New Zealand or one of our development shops overseas.”

Fronde

IT professionals with a business focus have been hard to find for software company Fronde.

Gareth Smart, recruitment manager, says the company has had difficulty finding business analysts and solutions architects with suitable knowledge for major IT projects.

“Typically we struggle to find top quality candidates around the business-focused spaces,” he says.

“We want to bridge the gap between business and IT, and that requires knowledge of both.”

In the past year Fronde has undertaken work on behalf of clients in the public sector, where there are a variety of technologies used in IT systems.

Smart says technology-agnostic developers and engineers are attractive because they can potentially provide multiple skill sets.

He says at Fronde, candidates who show an aptitude for both Java and Microsoft technology frameworks, or know one and are willing to learn the other, are particularly sought after.

“We want candidates who can adapt to both frameworks, and lend a hand in the different areas when required,” says Smart.

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