Tech sector tops staffing plans once more

Computing is still the most positive sector

IT continues to be the most buoyant sector of the New Zealand economy in terms of hiring expectations, according to recruitment firm Hudson’s latest six-monthly survey of hiring intentions.

The June-December 2007 Hudson report, which surveyed 1,567 employers about their staffing plans, shows that in the IT sector, a net positive 68.2% of employers plan to take on more staff.

(The “net positive” figure is arrived at by subtracting the proportion of respondents who expect a decrease in staff from the proportion who plan to increase their headcount).

The result for IT was up 2.7 percentage points on the previous survey, in which IT was also the most buoyant sector. The net positive effect for IT was most pronounced in the Lower North Island and South Island, with figures in the 70-80% band, whereas in the Upper North Island it was 50%.

Hudson national IT&T practice leader Campbell Hepburn says there’s no single factor pushing IT hiring expectations so high.

“It’s the economy in general and the maturing [in perception] of where IT sits and the role it plays in the economy,” Hepburn says.

Ongoing IT projects and upgrades in government organisations, plus increased investment in New Zealand by global IT vendors, are keeping demand for IT staff high, he says.

“The major vendors are signalling firm intentions that they’re here to stay.”

Multinational vendors are realising that the value of a New Zealand hire on a global basis is good and that IT is still very cost-effective in New Zealand, he says.

In the telecommunications sector, changes in the regulatory environment are encouraging investment and hiring, he adds.

Demand for staff in the IT and telecomms sectors is as high as ever, Hepburn says.

“There’s a shortage of candidates across the board, except at the low end, for graduate/helpdesk roles.”

A solution to the shortage for some employers may be to look at candidates who have transferable skills rather than “all the boxes ticked”, he says.

“For example, if someone has aptitude in Java development and a .Net candidate is sought, do you invest in training [the Java developer] in .Net skills or wait for a .Net person?

“It might take 2-3 months to hire a .Net person.” Other positive sectors include construction/property/engineering, government, professional services and utilities.

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