New Zealand's tech sector is strong and growing more every day, however it only represents a portion of the nation's digitally skilled workers. In 2016, 23,946 skilled IT professionals worked across 39 government agencies – comprising over a quarter of total employees in the sector, and roughly one-third of total IT services roles in the country1.
So, what sorts of skills are government agencies using, and what are they doing to ensure these skills are available in the future?
How do digital skills in the public sector differ from tech?
The Department of Internal Affairs' survey of government agencies draws some interesting parallels between its sector and the tech industry.
Gender diversity has long been a hot topic in STEM fields. The public sector appears to be working to close the gap, with 30 per cent of IT workers being female compared to 26 per cent in the tech sector.1
The government is also hiring a notably different skillset than tech. The majority of public IT workers are employed in project management, followed by data analytics and design and development. Meanwhile, the tech sector focuses much more heavily on development, hiring 3,916 software developers, roughly 1,630 infrastructure administrators and 937 network developers. 1
Future needs for digital skills in government agencies
Though project management represents the vast majority of IT workers in the public sector, this is expected to change. Demand for project managers is predicted to dip in the next four years, giving way to a rise in data analysts and cyber security professionals.
Project managers need not fear, however, as the tech sector expects another 170 new roles to open in the same period. Meanwhile, architects will be in high demand across both sectors.1
Overcoming the skills shortage
Government agencies have a leg up on some tech companies, offering more on-the-job training.
As demand for skilled workers grows in both the public and tech sectors, will we be able to keep up?
Government agencies have a leg up on some tech companies, offering much more in the way of internships and on-the-job training. That said, 40 per cent of agencies claimed they did not believe their workforce training would be sufficient to keep pace with digital transformation. 1
Workforce transitioning is an issue flagged for both sectors by NZTech chief executive, Graeme Muller, who stresses the importance of encouraging students into technical tertiary education as well as integrating workplace learning.2
You can get access to public and private job opportunities when you consult with a specialised recruiter like 920 Career Agents. Get in touch today to seize hold of your career future.
1– New Zealand Digital Skills Forum, Digital Skills for a Digital Nation
2– NZTech, Investment critical for a digital Kiwi nation