Aus is the place for NZ IT workers

Summary:Australians can look forward to having far more Kiwi co-workers, especially in the better paid IT sector.

Australians can look forward to having far more Kiwi co-workers, especially in the better paid IT sector.

Despite attempts by the New Zealand Government to prevent brain drain, the exodus continues, with skill shortages in Australia a counterpoint to New Zealand's tough IT sector.

Hudson's 2010 ICT survey reports generally growing wages in Australian IT, with stagnant or declining pay for their Kiwi compatriots.

The "Trans-Tasman Exodus" has received a lot of attention over the years. National's coalition partner ACT even campaigned on "bringing the children home" in the 2008 Election.

This led the New Zealand Government to appoint a 2025 Taskforce to see what can be done to close the gap between Australian and New Zealand living standards.

But its right-wing, free-market, tax-cutting recommendations were rejected by the centrist Prime Minister John Key. He offered his own economic suggestions to replace those recommendations last week, but they proved very timid. Many commentators were disappointed at the lack of radicalism, which featured a shift from income tax to GST, a minor tinkering of other taxes.

Sadly, New Zealand has swapped Labour for Labour-lite and the country's general direction remains unchanged; genteel relative economic decline, with a growing wage gap.

Left-wingers and the governor of our Reserve Bank say Australia is special and gains its wealth through its minerals. But they forget Singapore and Hong Kong earned their wealth through the enterprise of their own people, helped by low taxes and small government.

New Zealand can stop its brain drain, it just has to act, be it through tax or attracting inward investment.

Until that happens, you will have the same scenario happen over and over again. At the weekend I was with a mate who fixes computers in Auckland. He had just spent a week in Melbourne on business with his employer. The Australian parent company was most impressed with him, saying there would be a job for him at their Brisbane head office should he ever make the move.

The job paid an extra $30,000, a far better deal than the pay cut back home which had brought him to a salary of below NZ$50,000 (though technically cutting salaries is illegal here). My friend seems keen to go one day. And as a single guy in his mid 20s, who can blame him?

My advice to my mate and anyone else would be "Go West young man. If you do not like it, you can always come home!"

Topics: IT Employment


Darren Greenwood has been in journalism, not all of it IT, since the days of typewriters and long before the web spun its way around the world.Coming from Yorkshire, he can be blunt, and though having resided in New Zealand, as well as Australia, for quite some time, he insists he is not one of the 'sheeple!'

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