EDS achieves Best Shore staff target

Serving overseas clients earns the country foreign exchange, says EDS NZ chief

EDS NZ chief Rick says he has a vision of “just keeping on going” in recruiting staff to service overseas clients under the company’s Best Shore plan.

Last week, Ellis and economic development minister Trevor Mallard announced the achievement of the goal of 360 “new” jobs at EDS New Zealand set when the company’s Best Shore bid was accepted in 2003.

The exact total of Best Shore recruits was 383 at December 30, Ellis says. However, he says he is unable to estimate the total growth in the company during that period and staff gains on the Best Shore side may be offset to some extent by losses elsewhere in the company.

“What’s important is that these jobs are serving overseas clients and earning the country foreign exchange,” says Ellis.

The Government gave EDS New Zealand a grant of $1.5m to assist with the bid, which stirred controversy at the time. In pure monetary terms, the company would have been able to fund the bid itself, but EDS international was “looking for a signal of commitment” from the New Zealand government, to match funding that other governments were putting into their bids, Ellis says.

The total staff comprise 233 in technical helpdesk and contact centre work, 69 in applications development, 65 in “production engineering” (architecting computer and networking systems for clients) and 17 in remote network monitoring.

Some staff were attracted from overseas, particularly on the production engineering side, where a shortage of large local clients means New Zealand has not accumulated a large skills base.

However, Ellis, was unable to give a complete breakdown into local and overseas personnel, nor to say whether the overseas recruits included any returning Kiwis.

In October, EDS was criticised for employing 20 to 30 people in its call centre to sell face cream and including those figures in the Best Shore target.

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