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NZTech’s digital survey results and the Digital Technology Industry Transformation Plan

NZTech began its survey of thousands of New Zealanders on 29 September to produce a nationwide digital skills survey. Before COVID, around half of all new tech roles were fulfilled via immigration. With closed borders, it was obvious that what was once a skills shortage could quickly become a catastrophe if not managed well.

With this in mind, the agency wanted to establish a new baseline of the digital skills in the market and identify the areas of emerging critical shortage.

Chief executive Graeme Muller said, “We are surveying the tech sector, large corporate IT teams and the IT departments in government agencies over the next month.

NZTech has completed their digital skills survey and the write up is expected shortly.  The survey had a good number of responses, including most of the largest employers in the country.  In addition, the team analysed 93,000 LinkedIn profiles and data provided by the Ministry of Education, the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), Immigration New Zealand and Summer of Tech.

Pending the final document, the agency released some several early insights:

  1. There are many jobs available – for example, there are currently 505 software developer/engineer roles currently in the market (from only 147 respondents) and they are forecasting an additional 1,050 new jobs in the next two years.
  2. There is declining local interest in technology courses. Participation and achievement in digital technologies NCEA standards at secondary school have been declining at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3% over the past five years.
  3. There are fewer skilled graduates entering the market – domestic students graduating with tertiary computer science or information technology qualifications has been declining at a CAGR of 9% over the past five years, whereas international students are growing at 1%, resulting in a 6% annual decrease in graduates.
  4. New Zeland become reliant on international imports – over the past five years, 27,057 visas were granted for people entering ICT occupations and 48,000 international students studied computer science or information technology in NZ tertiary institutions.

NZTech’s purpose is to connect, promote and advance tech ecosystems and to help the New Zealand economy grow to create a prosperous digital nation. They connect tech ecosystems, organisations, people and policymakers with each other and to the world.

The agency promotes the importance of technology to the New Zealand public and New Zealand technology to the world. They help advance the foundations for a successful digital nation including digital education, connectivity, cybersecurity, digital access and trade.

Most recently, NZTech (2 Nov) launched a website for the Digital Technology Industry Transformation Plan (ITP). Working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and other industry and government partners, NZTech will use the site to make it easy to find out what is happening and how to get involved.

The digital technologies ITP will articulate a long term vision for the sector and an action plan to help move the sector towards that vision. The draft vision for the digital technologies sector is:

“The world looks to Aotearoa New Zealand as a leader in ethical, innovative, inclusive and sustainable digital technologies. These technologies enable our economy to prosper, help our businesses to grow stronger and compete internationally, and contribute to the wellbeing of all New Zealanders.”

The NZ government launched its Industry Strategy in June 2019, outlining its approach to growing strong and innovative industries in the country. In response to the impacts of COVID-19, the Industry Strategy was updated in June 2020.

At the core of the Industry Strategy is the development of Industry Transformation Plans for selected sectors of the economy, where there are opportunities to lift productivity and growth or where a significant transition is required.

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