ITCRA seeks industry support for professionalism

The new government needs to take action on skills development, says ITCRA president

The IT Contract & Recruitment Association wants large user organisations to support its push for more professionalism and higher ethical standards in recruiting.

The organisation’s president, Richard Manthel, says if large user organisations, such as IRD in the public sector or Vodafone or Telecom in the private sector, supported it by only using ITCRA members for recruiting, it would give the effort a boost.

Manthel says this is already happening in Australia where ITCRA has also won significant support from regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

In March, the ACCC granted authorisation to certain provisions of ITCRA’s code of conduct, providing protection from court action under the Australian Trade Practices Act.

Such authorisation is granted where the ACCC is satisfied the benefit to the public from conduct outweighs any public detriment, such as restraining competition. Codes of conduct can generate a benefit to the public if they are an effective regulatory tool.

“The ACCC considers that the standards of conduct set out in ITCRA’s code can assist ITCRA members conduct their business activities ethically and professionally. They also have the potential to reduce the risk that parties who deal with ITCRA members will be exposed to unscrupulous conduct,” the determination found.

Manthel says the code enforces standards of behaviour and professionalism and requirements for staff training. However, the industry still suffers from having its reputation tarnished by recruiters who do not subject themselves to its disciplines.

Manthel also joined the chorus of industry figures calling on the new government to take action on skills development, saying there needs to be firm government commitment to ensure that the right skills are being identified, developed, and nurtured.

“We represent a growing number of ICT recruitment companies in New Zealand who are looking at New Zealand’s future over the next decade and are gravely concerned at the potential unavailability of ICT skills if plans are not instigated now to address education, recognition and direction for ICT,” he says.

He suggests directed funding to identify and nurture the necessary skills to develop students from primary level, through to tertiary level and into the ICT sector.

Manthel says extracurricular support from experts could help fill a gap in the expertise of some schools, but such programmes require funding and commitment.

He says to think the current recession will alleviate skills shortages is “short-term thinking” and the ICT skills market will remain under pressure for the next decade.

“Recessions never last,” he says. “In a year’s time people will be saying ‘What recession?’”

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