NZ govt, Workhere hunt for Australian tech talent

Xero, Vend, and Datacom are a handful of tech companies that are taking advantage of a new campaign launched by the New Zealand government and Workhere to encourage Australians and Kiwi ex-pats to join the New Zealand tech sector.

The New Zealand government and Workhere, a company that connects talent from around the global to New Zealand-based companies, have joined forces launching a campaign branded "The Innovation Islands" to attract IT talent from Australia and other countries in the region, as well as Kiwi ex-pats to join the New Zealand tech sector.

Companies including Xero, Vend, Orion Health, and Datacom are expanding their scope to look for new people to fill roles that they have been unable to fill with local talent as part of the campaign. There are currently more than 250 jobs being listed on the site ranging from software and electrical engineers, programmers, developers, and business and systems analysts.

"I think what we're seeing is a real emergence of cloud-based services and businesses, so this is reflecting on emergence of roles such as software development in the mobile space because app development for mobile is becoming a crucial skill," said Jonny Wyles, Workhere managing director.

As part of the campaign, to give people a better understanding of what it's like to work in the New Zealand tech industry, a selection of video interviews have been posted onto the site so potential candidates are able to hear first-hand about their experiences.

"Top of the list seems to be a fantastic work-life balance, spending less time commuting while enjoying a great salary and unrivalled standard of living. Relatively smaller businesses with less hierarchy and the ability to get ahead faster in your career also comes through strongly," Wyles said.

Steve McGill, Immigration New Zealand attraction, settlement and protection general manager said the government has recognised the tech sector need to attract top talent so it can continue to grow.

"Attracting Kiwi ICT expertise back to New Zealand is important to us, but we also welcome talented Australians and other nationals who are looking for a new challenge to join us across the ditch," he said.

The New Zealand government also recently announced it will be investing NZ$28.6 million over the next four years to support through ICT graduate schools, in hope to attract top students and academics, and connect them with local high-tech firms.

The schools will be based close to ICT firms in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch with the Christchurch program located within the new Christchurch Innovation Precinct.

At the same time, Qrious has established a Data Science Academy to address the data scientist skill storage that exists within New Zealand. The Academy has been setup for students and professionals to be trained, tutored, and tested on their knowledge over a 17 week course.