Worsening global economic conditions are sending Kiwis home, say recruitment agencies.
Their comments appear to overturn the Gartner Research view that keeping staff is one of the top challenges for Kiwi IT employers.
However, the returnees seem a more recent but growing phonemenon, since the publication earlier this month of Gartner's latest survey for Austalasia.
"The lure of higher paying jobs and greater opportunities overseas are driving many New Zealand IT employees to Australia, the UK, and even the US. As a result, the majority of New Zealand IT companies, vendor and end-user organisations are under staffed and over worked," says Gartner spokesman Peter Wilson.
"To find the skills needed, many companies have been forced to use recruiting companies that have access to overseas talent, primarily in South Africa and the UK. These efforts, though, create quite a strain on New Zealand companies as top dollars are demanded, and often provided as a result of the skills shortage, and moving expenses are usually included in the benefits package. Despite these costs, in order bring in the much needed skills, employers are willing to "bite the bullet" and pay the costs so they can competitively bid on highly desired contracts," he says.
However, both Glenn Bratton of Robert Walters and Christine Fitchew of Candle say Kiwis are now returning home.
Fitchew says the overseas market has slowed, particularly in the US, Australia and the UK. "It [demand in London] was humungous but it has eased off. Australia is no longer as active either. They had their boom last year. A lot more are coming back here for the lifestyle after finding they can no longer earn top dollar overseas," she says.
However, Fitchew says Kiwi firms still have to pay more for the best staff, with some imposing "golden handcuffs" on senior contractors - not letting them receive their bonuses until they have serviced and delivered a project.
Bratton also confirms Kiwis coming home as Australia "gets hit pretty hard" and the US and UK "go into decline".
"There will always be an outward shift of Kiwis going abroad, but it won't continue in the same drive as before."
Bratton says Wellington firms, for example, still must pay "top dollar" for the best staff and are using agencies like his, which also recruit through overseas affiliates and recruitment fairs. They often paying part or all of the moving costs for some people, he says.