Database specialist thinks about O.E.

I am starting to wonder if skilled people such as myself really are better off leaving New Zealand for good. What do you think?

Dear Adviser,

I have worked with relational databases since completing university and have about six years experience.

I work with one of the big five databases and have spent the past three years working for the vendor of that database, both here and in Europe.

As part of my job I assist clients throughout the Asian region with major projects as well as running training courses on that product up to an advanced level.

As I often work with the DBAs (database administrators) of many different organisations, I know that my skills are at the top of the range for what I do.

I have recently started looking for a new position.

However, I have been quite surprised to see the relatively low salaries on offer compared to overseas.

It seems that database skills pay at most $90,000 (and often significantly less) in New Zealand, whereas the same skills may attract twice that in Europe and 50% more in Australia.

I often hear in the media about the brain drain and I am starting to wonder if skilled people such as myself really are better off leaving New Zealand for good. What do you think?


Gybe Consulting replies:

Dear Frustrated,

Unfortunately what you have outlined is a classic case of the size of the market dictating the opportunities available.

In contrast to Europe and even Australia, New Zealand is a very small market, with the number of sites using any one of the big five relational databases being correspondingly small.

Add to that the fact that certain databases are a lot more popular here than others, and this reduces the opportunities even further for those skilled in the less prevalent.

You are correct in that most remuneration packages for database specialists are between $80,000 and $90,000, and only increase when additional skills are required, such as infrastructure design, development or project management. I don't know what the answer is, but if money is your primary motivator, then perhaps offshore is the place for you.

Readers with career questions can have them answered in this column by IT recruitment specialists. Send questions via Computerworld journalist, Darren Greenwood, with "Dear Adviser" in the subject line.

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