NZ ranks well behind leaders in IT competitiveness

Both our IT infrastructure ranking and R&D environment are holding NZ back

New Zealand has been ranked 17th in a global study of IT competitiveness, well behind the leaders, the United States and Japan.

The Business Software Alliance (BSA), which commissioned the study, also identified Australia as amongst the best in the world, ranking it fifth out of 64 countries when it comes to IT infrastructure and global competitiveness.

Independently compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the study, titled “The means to compete: Benchmarking IT industry competitiveness”, placed the US and Japan in the top spots for their overall IT competitiveness, with scores of 77.4 and 72.7, respectively.

Australia, with a score of 66.5, ranked fifth overall and third in the Asia Pacific region. New Zealand ranked 17th, with a score of 57.5, just behind Germany and Ireland, but ahead of France and Austria.

The scores were compiled by ranking 64 nations on several factors, such as PC ownership, broadband adoption, government regulation, enrolment in higher education, IT employment, the business environment, research and development spending and cyber crime laws.

New Zealand ranked eighth in the overall business environment category and for human capital, and ninth for labour productivity, with US$148,384 output per employee. Taiwan led the category with US$386,413 per employee. It ranked 13th for government support of the IT sector.

However, New Zealand fell to 17th place for its legal environment rating and 19th for its research and development environment, and also for its IT infrastructure.

“Given the national significance — and enormous cost — of deploying advanced communications networks, government vision and commitment is often required to encourage their spread,” the report says.

“National infrastructure initiatives benefit the IT industry, of course, by providing businesses of all sizes with the ability to network easily with suppliers, partners and customers.”

Australia excelled in the categories of IT infrastructure, business environment and the legal environment. And, although it received a high overall score in the human capital category, which noted that Australia’s 200,000 employees in the industry contribute around 6% to gross domestic product (GDP), a severe shortage of skilled workers exposed Australia’s need to attract and encourage new talent into the IT profession.

Additional reporting by Rob O’Neil

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