IT staff in high demand in New Zealand

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2007 will be another bumper year for IT job hunters in Wellington, New Zealand, with recruiters all predicting strong demand for IT skills.

The skill shortage will continue to hit employers, especially in roles such as business analysts, Java developers and test analysts, recruiters say. Project managers and .Net skills will also be in demand.

Ben Pearson, of QID Recruitment, says its clients expect 2007 to be a tight year for finding staff. "We're in a very busy phase ... the market is buoyant and there's a lot of job opportunities out there."

The candidates' market will see skilled IT workers juggling multiple job offers and shopping around, says Campbell Hepburn, Hudson IT&T national practice manager.

Hudson's research indicates many organizations intend to hire more staff in 2007, particularly in the government, telco, construction, and IT sectors.

"The demands are there, and it's not going to change in the short term," Mr. Hepburn says. "There are just not enough people to fill the roles."

Infrastructure skills, such as network and systems engineers, weren't popular in 2006, but Mr. Pearson expects this to change in 2007 as more large government IT projects kick off. Senior IT roles, however, will continue to be thin on the ground, he says.

"This year has been very light on senior-end ICT roles. There's nothing happening out there that suggests there's going to be a big shakeup at the senior end (in 2007)."

Mr. Hepburn expects resurgence in demand for SAP and PeopleSoft skills this year.

Organizations won't be able to rely on recent graduates to plug the gaps. ICT enrolments at Victoria, Otago, Auckland and Canterbury last year were about half what they were in 2002.

Immigration is also not the answer. Mr. Hepburn says overall the country exports as much IT talent as it imports.

Recruiters for Australian state and federal governments were in New Zealand last year to poach IT talent, and he expects more countries to come looking this year.

Companies and government agencies will have to be more flexible, he says, even recruiting non-ICT staff for ICT roles if they show an interest.

Wellington organizations seem content to wait for a good candidate for a permanent role, rather than just find someone who can fill it. Real Recruitment's Helen Cartwright says more of her clients insist on candidates having a bachelor's ICT degree before they'll consider them.

New Zealand organizations will increasingly have to look offshore for talent, Mr. Hepburn says.

Wellington recruiter AbsoluteIT opened an office in London in November, and director Grant Burley says it's had "huge interest" from Brits looking to settle here permanently or for a few months.

Mr. Burley expects to lure a few hundred Brits to the country each year from its London office.

Organizations are also under pressure to reduce spending on contractors, while more ICT workers move away from permanent roles.


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