An estimated 3200 new tech jobs were created in New Zealand this year – topping around 2830 jobs in 2017 - which suggests that the country's high-paid tech sector is on a hot streak.
NZTech's Graeme Muller says those kinds of numbers make technology the fastest growing sector in New Zealand, and you don't have to look far to find evidence.
He points to businesses like Xero, Pushpay and other firms that have added almost 15,000 jobs in the last 10 years. That kind of growth is happening all around the country.
“A growing tech sector in 2018 is something for all New Zealanders to celebrate for many reasons. The growth is not limited to one part of the country. New tech roles are highly paid generating new wealth for regional New Zealand and research has found that for every new tech role created 4.9 other support roles are created in a community,” says Muller.
“There are growing examples of globally successful tech firms operating out of the regions such as Animation Research in Dunedin, GPS-IT in Tauranga and TracMap in Mosgiel.
The regions are also bearing fruit for successful tech firms, proving that not every company needs to be based in the main centres.
Muller says that former Auckland-based translation software firm The Straker Group and its 20 staff made the move to Gisborne this year.
“This growth in digital workers is not limited to the tech sector with most large organisations also trying to employ from the same limited talent pool which is driving up salaries to more than twice the New Zealand average,” Muller continues.
He points out that the limited talent pool is evident in New Zealand. The Digital Skills Forum analysed the digital skills market last year. It found a mismatch between the number of jobs being created and a smaller number of graduates who could fill them.
There are also issues related to diversity. In 2016, 36% of tech students were female and 8% were Māori.
“The exponential growth of the tech sector is expected to increasingly impact regional development in a positive way and New Zealand is well placed to benefit from a quick response to digital skills demand and future of work opportunities,” Muller says.
NZTech states that it works closely with government and is encouraged by the investment in teachers' skills to support the introduction of the new digital technology curriculum in class rooms throughout New Zealand.