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NZTech starts crucial digital skills survey

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

NZTech today began surveying thousands of New Zealanders to produce a nationwide digital skills survey.

Chief executive Graeme Muller says before covid around half of all new tech roles were fulfilled via immigration.

"With closed borders, it is obvious that what was once a skills shortage could quickly become a catastrophe if not managed well.

"We need to establish a new baseline of the digital skills in the market and identify the areas of emerging critical shortage.

"We are surveying the tech sector, large corporate IT teams and the IT departments in government agencies over the next month.

"The results of the survey will support the development of better education pathways for the talented staff needed in the tech sector.

"It will also inform the immigration settings and help ensure critical highly skilled digital workers can enter New Zealand but, in the meantime, we must find ways to provide opportunities for talented Kiwis to develop digital skills needed by the market.

New Zealand should not depend on immigration as the silver bullet to the tech skills shortages, so the work the education system is doing to help build local talent is critical.

"Many tech firms and organisations in New Zealand are struggling to find enough people with digital skills so we hope they will now be more open to new ideas like tech apprenticeships.

"We also hope that more people will start considering tech as a career for themselves or their kids given the sector continues to grow and create well-paying roles with the median salary well over $80,000 a year.

"Experienced workers in declining sectors might consider upskilling through the ICT Grad Schools, or there are other shorter options like the Dev Academy.

"Students at school would be wise to try things like Code Club and 123Tech to gain experience and connect with future employers.

"Post-covid, technology will continue to reshape how we work, learn and play and this will have a profound impact on our society."

Last year the tech sector employed 114,000 people and the 200 largest exporters alone had $8.7billion in overseas sales and this is growing at close to $1billion a year, every year.

Tech is going gangbusters and is on track to be New Zealand’s largest export industry well before 2030 as long as the country can increase the flow of skills and capital to support this growth, Muller says.

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