New Zealand's "brain drain" overseas could go on for some time yet, says HCL Technologies' New Zealand business development manager, Pawan Sharma.
HCL Technologies is part of the $US600 million HCL corporate umbrella. The Indian organisation, which is involved in hardware, software, networking and consultancy, was set up in New Zealand about two years ago. It has 25 staff in New Zealand and provides on-site services in this country. Much of its current work is in year 2000 compliancy.
Sharma says New Zealand is experiencing high levels of "brain drain", with skilled people being attracted to the US and the UK. He says the trend will continue for many months to come, particularly for the UK, which not only has to contend with year 2000 work but with sorting out systems for the euro currency.
He says New Zealand has very strong skills in project management and leadership. "These are the skills required by organisations worldwide when they come into the testing phase."
Sharma says there are a number of companies which have started panicking now about the year 2000 and need to outsource the work to get it done on time.
With many of its year 2000 projects, HCL takes work offshore. Rather than having 20 people working in New Zealand, there might be three or four here, with 10 to 15 working in India. HCL says it is quickly able to draw from HCL's 9000 staff worldwide for large short time-frame projects.
"Since we're a large organisation and have been doing a number of year 2000 projects worldwide, we can move people and mobilise them in a very short time."
He acknowledges that with year 2000 work, skilled staff are needed in many countries at the same time. However, he says Asia-Pacific is less affected by the year 2000 problem because few organisations use large IT systems.