NZ’s digital skills shortage worsening

The New Zealand Digital Skills Forum report reveals that New Zealand has a significant and growing digital skills shortage.

Forum chairwoman Victoria MacLennan said more than 120,000 people were employed in the tech sector last year and about 14,000 new jobs were created. However, only 5090 technology students graduated in 2015, and 5500 technology visas were granted in the same period.

At the same time, New Zealand was facing an 11% annual increase in demand for software programmer jobs, the report said.

The shortage is primarily due to the speed and scale of the increase in demand for tech skills and a lack of diversity. In 2016, 36 percent of tech students were female, and only 8 per cent were Maori.

“This report represents a great opportunity. Technology is such an important part of day-to-day life for all New Zealanders, meaning that just about everyone has a stake in our success as we respond to the challenges of our changing digital world,” MacLennan said.

“We need to continue working together to help nurture and develop local talent, and at the same time make sure that we fill any gaps from the best talent we can find worldwide. If we do this well then we have the opportunity to make New Zealand a technology powerhouse on the world stage.

The school education sector had this year been reformed to give every Kiwi child a digital education.

“Through targeted reviews and industry recognition, our tertiary sector is better positioned than ever before to deliver the quality graduates needed. There are also more alternative pathways into digital roles than ever before.”

The median salary for technology roles was $82,000 – nearly twice the average median salary, MacLennan said.

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