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New Zealand to Boost Digital Workforce

NZTech, the government-backed industry body that focused on the country’s digital transformation, says the push is on to put more people into digital jobs. By doing so, Wellington should be able to build economic growth and help businesses scale up to size with a New Zealand-based workforce.

The nation’s foremost industry body on the nation’s digital adoption disclosed how ICT jobs have ballooned since last year. As observed, the numbers are steadily increasing. Some 200 firms surveyed late last year were found to have 2,000 open jobs for senior experienced people. In addition, the public sector had 700 unfilled tech vacancies.

The growing demand for digital jobs is a telltale sign of the growth of Aoteroa’s technology sector. The industry association said there were about 5,000 digital jobs added to the tech sector in each of the past 10 years. While those numbers can be staggering, they’re not static. It is estimated each of those jobs resulted in more than four indirect jobs. That includes managers, marketers and administrators.

The research shows that for every new role we put into a digital tech role it creates 4.8, or 4.9 peripheral roles.

– Graeme Muller, Chief Executive, NZTech

To meet this growing demand, New Zealand has been increasingly on the lookout for talent outside of the country. Muller detailed about 4,000 of the jobs had been filled by experienced and skilled immigrants. It’s a good start to fill a growing gap in the labour market. However, the void for a digital workforce is also growing as those jobs taken generated plenty of others.

Muller stressed Aoteroa’s own supply of skilled workers may not be enough to meet such demand. He revealed that at the end of 2019 and across to 2020, only 1,800 students left high school to start some sort of IT qualification. He notes a growing need as those numbers are not enough. Thus, there’s a need to boost those up. In this regard, Wellington should get a lot more people excited and interested.

With its growing needs, with lots of really good quality jobs, the NZTech CEO recommends that the government should provide extra measures to fill that void by sourcing from both outside and inside the island nation. For instance, short courses could be used to upskill people as well as develop a longer pipeline through schools, while at the same time the country can continue to recruit from overseas.

To do this, it’s important that New Zealand stays as a premier destination for the digital workforce from all over the world. If not, tech firms could end up doing having to build big teams in other countries, Muller observed.

In the long run, New Zealand hopes to address its digital labour shortage. It does this by allowing all stakeholders to have a say in the matter. Already, the government is incorporating the manpower issue in its comprehensive digital road map that is bound to be finalised in the months to come. It’s noteworthy that the material is open to industry recommendations showing everyone just how much Aoteroa wants its plan to be as comprehensive as possible.

The government is focused on doing things right from the onset. Even its foray into Artificial Intelligence is labelled as ethical. As reported on OpenGov Asia, Aoteroa knows the windows of opportunities in the digital sector could be limited so it’s making sure it can make the most out of it.

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