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What recession? I'm a .NET developer

Skills shortages and booming financial, health and telco sectors - the 2011 IT jobs space wrapped up

With the end of the year almost in sight, Computerworld asked IT recruitment experts what they thought of the year that has been, and what they think the IT jobs space will be like in 2012.

Hottest skills

Experienced software and web developers were highly sought after in 2011 according to Josh Comrie, managing director of Potentia, and he expects this will continue next year.

"The first half of the year we saw a high demand for .NET developers, and from mid-year onwards the number of Java developers being sought increased significantly," says Comrie.

He says much of the demand comes from the financial, health, and telecommunications sectors, with companies in these sectors expanding their ICT services and offerings for customers.

Companies are also investing in SharePoint to improve internal collaboration and intranets, but Comrie says the demand for SharePoint experienced workers has outweighed the supply.

Tom Derbyshire, IT recruitment manager at Robert Walters, told Computerworld in November that many companies in New Zealand have been forced to train staff internally in SharePoint as there are so few experienced external candidates.

"It's getting hard to find that talent," Derbyshire says.

New growth area: software export

According to the latest TIN 100 industry analysis, the top ten software developers generated $212 million in revenue in 2011, an 8.6 percent increase from the previous year.

Xero, which has achieved a 185 percent growth in revenue in 2011 compared to the previous year, is in hiring overdrive to keep up.

The Wellington-based financial software company is hiring 50 to 100 new IT workers over the next two years, according to Rod Drury, CEO.

Drury says software product companies like Xero are looking for New Zealand-based product managers, marketers, testers, and technical documenters. He says they want staff who have an understanding of technology, as well as business or marketing skills.

"Software developers are of course important, but we're looking for IT people along the whole spectrum."

Drury says because there are so few candidates with software product experience in New Zealand, the company has had to source much of its IT talent from the UK.

"The problem here is until quite recently, most technology jobs in New Zealand have been at big server companies or with government," says Drury.

"This has changed somewhat recently, with more tech start ups creating new software, especially in Wellington. New Zealand tech workers just don't know about these opportunities yet."

Skills shortages

Reports of shortages in skilled IT workers in New Zealand have been bandied about within the industry, but what is the reality?

"There's definitely no over supply of skilled workers this year," says Martin Barry, co-director of Absolute IT.

He says technology graduates with two to three years experience are being lured away, mostly to Australia and the UK, with the prospect of higher wages and more interesting work opportunities.

"New Zealanders are naturally curious about what it's like to work overseas. At the same time they can get some relief from their student loans, which makes working overseas very attractive."

He says New Zealand companies need to engage technology graduates before they go overseas.

"There's no immediate answer, but I think for a lot of graduates there is a relatively low awareness of what's happening IT wise in New Zealand companies. Companies need to get more of a presence on campuses."

Barry says that social media is an important tool for companies to find the right employees.

"Social media is a must-have tool for companies that are wanting to market their products, and themselves as a great place to work."

"I don't know if there is a single place like LinkedIn or Facebook where graduates are looking for jobs, but maybe we can create groups for them to find out more about the industry," says Barry.


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