2014-2015 saw a drop in the number of Kiwi graduates emigrating within a year of achieving their undergraduate degree, down from 2011-2012 figures according to the New Zealand Herald. This reflects the nation's buoyant job market, especially when compared to neighbouring Australia, a traditional emigration destination for Kiwis.
The drop is backed by first-year graduates' median annual income levels remaining above the national income average, and with the income of those in IT well above. With more graduates now remaining at home, we investigate the potential impact on New Zealand's IT industry and how this will effect employers.
The current IT job market
In 2015, it was estimated around 100,000 people were involved in New Zealand's IT industry, contributing 8 per cent of the national economy according to NZTech. The disproportionate value of the IT industry demonstrates its significance in developing the national economy, and supports the case of expanding the industry further. However, expansion will bring about some important trends.
Young IT professionals are entering an increasingly saturated job market, meaning emigration levels should remain steady despite the industry's growing size, and it should also mean graduates start to diversify and pursue roles IT roles in other industries, like agriculture.
Despite these initial forecasts, the future for the New Zealand IT industry remains bright as it experiences its biggest ever boom in employment.
the government will have to provide more support to encourage IT graduates to develop their careers in the New Zealand market
Where are we headed?
One outcome will see graduates increasingly starting their own businesses. Combining bachelor-level IT skills and an innovative idea, graduates can achieve high job satisfaction in pursuing their own passions, with the risks minimised by current start-up support networks. There are numerous financial initiatives and advisory groups designed to foster start-ups – governmental bodies like New Zealand Trade & Enterprise able to provide resources, while programs such as Lightning Lab help accelerate business growth through industry mentoring.
This increase in the number of start-ups will also generate new employment opportunities within IT and other industries, further fuelling growth.
Secondly, the flood of young graduates will increase competition for lower-level jobs. This competition ensures the industry has a wider pool of talent to draw from, while also encouraging current IT professionals to diversify their abilities. These two factors combined will increase the industry's GDP output, and symbiotically stimulate further interest in entering the industry.
Solutions in mind
For the industry to continue growing, a tech start-up culture and the commercial expansion of IT companies needs to be supported by the government, ensuring young IT professionals remain working in New Zealand. There also needs to be more concerted effort to make the country a regional technology powerhouse by attracting foreign business to use the IT industry.
With undoubted industry expansion ahead, IT professionals need expert consultation; contacting 920 today will help you find your ideal role in developing New Zealand into a true digital nation.