Layoffs hit local IT industry, but softly

A flurry of redundancies in the New Zealand IT sector in the past few months is just a drop in the ocean compared with the carnage in the US and Australia.

A flurry of redundancies in the New Zealand IT sector in the past few months is just a drop in the ocean compared with the carnage in the US and Australia.

New Zealand blood-letting has happened at management company Mi Services (44 staff gone), internet ratings compiler NetRatings (six), online document maker OwlCentral (eight), voice recognition and telephony product reseller CallTime (two), and services company CSC (see HP takeover sees jobs go at CSC).

In September, gen-i shed 20 contractors early when an Ansett PC migration project had to be cancelled after the airline collapsed.

Worldwide, particularly in the US, tens of thousands have been laid off as companies trim costs in the wake of the slowing economy and the September 11 terrorist attacks. Among them are Sun Microsystems (3900 worldwide), Computer Associates (900) and BMC (476).

There’s some good news, however: not all IT multinationals are downsizing their New Zealand operations.

Mark Botherway, general manager of SolNet, Sun’s New Zealand agent, says one former employee is now an independent contractor to the company and SolNet is exploring the option of similarly changing the status of two other employees, with the New Zealand head count remaining at around 115.

BMC will retain all 33 of its New Zealand staff, says manager Paul Williams.

“The redundancies have had no effect; our targets are being met.”

Computer Associates managing director Richard Collins says the company, which employs 35 in New Zealand, is assessing whether there will be local job losses, with no decision yet made.

New Zealand’s largest IT distributor, Tech Pacific, has avoided redundancies, despite its Australian counterpart laying off 59 staff, managing director Tony Butler says.

“We’re still employing people; our headcount is 170 and it was 155 at the beginning of the year.”

Tech Pacific New Zealand “is having a very good year”, and while times are tough, the company has this month had its best week since September 11, he says.

An IBM spokesperson says there have been no redundancies among the company’s 860 NZ staff recently and Microsoft NZ communications manager, Carol Leishman meanwhile, says the local subsidiary “has been fortunate that people haven’t been affected”.

Microsoft employs 100 people in New Zealand, 30 of whom have been hired in the past 18 months, she says.

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More about AnsettBMC Software AustraliaBMC Software AustraliaCallTimeCA TechnologiesCSC AustraliaGen-i AustraliaHPIBM AustraliaMicrosoftNetRatingsOwlCentralSolnetSun MicrosystemsTech Pacific

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