More than 60% of New Zealand’s technology industry employers plan to increase staff numbers despite the worldwide dot-com downturn.
TMP Worldwide, formerly Morgan & Banks, releases its twice-yearly job index survey results this week showing increasing levels of employer optimism across IT and other industries.
TMP’s national strategy director, Kaye McAulay, says in the upper North Island 67% of IT companies plan to increase their staff, as do 60% of lower North Island IT employers and 70.6% of their South Island counterparts.
Those planning job cuts amount to just 3.1% of upper North Island firms, 8.4% of lower North Island IT firms and no South Island IT firms. This gives positive net effects of 63.8%, 51.6% and 70.6% respectively.
The general jobs situation is also improving, says TMP, as 45.2% of the 1603 employers it surveyed plan to increase staff numbers and only 11.2% expect a decrease.
But with more IT businesses planning to increasing their staff numbers, skills shortages would leave many unfilled vacancies.
Systems integrator gen-i, for example, employed 380 a year ago and has 440 staff today, with vacancies to fill. Over the next two years, it plans to double staff numbers, says boss Garth Biggs.
McAulay says: “If you have the skills required, the world is your oyster in the IT industry. In the next six months your skills should be in even more demand.”
About five years ago such jobs data correlated with economic confidence, but these days she believes it ties in with international skills shortages. However, the “brain drain” to overseas has slowed, tied to lower economic confidence in Australia, the US and Europe.
Despite attracting many IT industries in recent years, Wellington impacted badly on lower North Island figures as it often houses the New Zealand headquarters of overseas multinationals.
“The capital has been hit more by international freezes at Lucent, Nortel, IBM and others. Auckland has not been hit so much as it has more local, small shops,” says McAulay.
Other IT recruiters are similarly optimistic about job prospects.
In Wellington, Graham Bilby of Spherion recruitment says he wouldn’t disagree with TMP’s findings of employer intentions. But he says many employers are reluctant to take people on if they do not have New Zealand experience.