IT pros tipped to come flooding home

Some Kiwi IT recruitment firms are bracing themselves for a flood of CVs expected from terrorist-threatened Britain and the US.

Some Kiwi IT recruitment firms are bracing themselves for a flood of CVs expected from terrorist-threatened Britain and the US.

The New Zealand Jobs and Futures Fair in London last weekend attracted more than 2000 people — twice the number that attended last year’s inaugural event.

Auckland-based employment information firm Working In surveyed people at the fair and found 60% of those spoken to were New Zealanders looking to come home. The rest were Britons looking to migrate to New Zealand. Almost a quarter at the show, the largest of any employment grouping, worked in IT.

Nearly half of those surveyed (46%) were returning home for the lifestyle, with 36% saying the threat of war/terrorism had affected their decision to return home.

“We noticed a definite shift in attitude from a ‘nice place to go to, shame about the money’ to ‘a great lifestyle and the money, well, it’s not that important’,” says Working In co-owner Hayley Roberts. The global IT downturn is also having some impact on attitudes, she says.

Roberts says Michael Jarvis, an analyst programmer from Christchurch, has worked in London in IT since 1989. A company he has contracted to on and off for 10 years is not hiring for the first time and he told Roberts “that is when I thought I’d be home for Christmas”.

Another IT professional Roberts spoke to, originally from Christchurch, set up a web development company in London. She says he came to the show to investigate the New Zealand market as he was thinking of moving the business here. “He said before he left he used to think New Zealand’s remote location was a downfall, but not any more. He’s sure he’ll be able to retain his London clients.”

Among the recruitment firms at the show was Robert Walters. Auckland-based manager Glenn Bratton is unsure why people increasingly want to work in New Zealand, but his agency’s expo team have warned him what to expect. Bratton says they told him by email: “I hope you are ready for a large blast of CVs over the next few weeks as every man and his dog at the expo was interested in IT in New Zealand.”

New Zealand Immigration Service spokesman Ian Smith says the NZIS stand at the expo was “very busy”, and there has also been interest in New Zealand from the US. “Our Washington office has had an increasing number of calls and requests for self-assessment guides,” he says.

However, Smith says the NZIS has no figures on the size of the increase.

Working In found 16% of the returnees plan to arrive in New Zealand this year, with 54% in 2002 and 17% unsure. Some 45% want to live in Auckland on their return, 31% in Wellington and 14% in Christchurch, followed by other centres. Almost three-quarters are university educated, Working In says.

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