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ICT Trends – Rewarding Career

Garry Roberton, Guest post. 04 May 2016, 11:00 am
ICT Trends – Rewarding Career

Supply and Demand 

A quick glance at this month's Seek ICT job advert figure (Fig.1) indicates a 5 percent drop on the March figure of 2065, and represents a decline of 4.3 percent on this time last year.  The NZ Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) jobs online monthly report for March 2016 states that while the all vacancies index increased by 0.7 percent, IT increased by just 0.1 percent over the month, 16 February to 16 March. Over the year to March, job vacancies increased in all of the industry groups, up 7.9 percent, while IT vacancies fell by 4.1 per cent. 

One might be forgiven for assuming, based on these recent trends that the demand for ICT skills is starting to cool off - quite the opposite according to a number of articles posted over the last month, especially in relation to remuneration rates.

New Zealand

A NZ Herald article with the headline: "How much is your degree worth?" Big bucks for the right graduates", has revealed new data indicating how much graduates are earning up to nine years after gaining their degree. Graduates, who study engineering and information technology, and health-related degrees, are among those who can expect the most financial pay-off. The spread of earnings sees bachelor graduates in information systems in the upper quartile earning $95,766 in year nine - a very attractive remuneration proposition!


A survey of CIOs, conducted by the recruitment firm Robert Half, reveals that a growing supply and demand imbalance for specialised and hard-to-fill IT roles is going to drive a rise in starting salaries. The IT industry is in the middle of a five year growth cycle, as projected by the Australian Government, with an anticipated 14.2 percent increase in the demand for IT appointments over this period. 

The five top IT jobs, according to Robert Half, are Business Intelligence Developers, Infrastructure Managers, ERP Functional Consultant/CRM Consultants, Enterprise Architects and (IT) Project Managers.

Table 1 indicates the current demand in NZ, based on the Robert Half defined Australian top five job categories, together with indicative salaries.

 Table 1 NZ Demand.jpg


An IT News item, featuring the headline 'Why Data Scientist is the Hottest Tech Job in Retail' refers to data scientists as 'unicorns' because they are so hard to find. With big data now permeating every industry, it's a job that requires the right people to extract knowledge and insights. Acquiring advanced predictive analytics, based on the collection, management and analysis of supply chain data, helps executives make more intuitive, accurate and reliable decisions.  

The retail industry is experiencing a shortfall of suitably qualified applicants for these positions with McKinsey projecting a 40 to 60 percent shortfall by 2018. One of the main reasons for the predicted shortfall is that universities have been slow to develop programmes that address the issue. It helps to explain why finding the right people in this specialised area is proving challenging and salary demands are increasing. 

There are currently five jobs advertised for Data Scientists on Seek ICT with an indicative salary of $100k plus. 

A detailed account of the NZ ICT job advert trends follows.

Current Job Adverts 

The total number of Seek ICT Job adverts for April 2016 is 1960, which is down by 4.3 percent on April 2015 (Fig.1) and represents a decline of 5 percent on last month's figure of 2065. This decrease reflects a similar trend that occurred at the same time last year (End of the financial year?). Next month Seek ICT job adverts should increase by between 10 and 15 percent if the similarity in yearly trends continues.

APRIL Table 2 Seek ICT.png

Fig.1 Seek ICT Job Adverts Monthly Trends 2010 - 2016 (April)


While the number of TradeMe IT job adverts for April (Figure 2) is down by 4 percent on the same time last year, the April figure represents an increase of 7.5 percent on last month, in contrast with the Seek ICT job advert decline of 5 percent. 


APRIL Figure 2.png 

Figure 2 Seek ICT & Trademe IT Job Advert Trends to April 2016

The Wellington region leads a downward trend in Seek ICT job adverts for this month, down 13 percent, with Waikato bucking the trend, up 8 percent (Figure 3).

 APRIL Figure 3.png

Figure 3 Seek ICT Job Advert Trends Monthly Change for March - April 2016


Figure 4 provides a detailed record of the Seek ICT job advert trends by region for the year to date. 


APRIL Figure 4.png

Figure 4 Seek ICT Job Advert Monthly Trends to April 2016



In spite of a recent downward trend for Seek ICT job adverts, and as recorded by the MBIE jobs online monthly reports, a number of topical articles published online locally, and from around the globe, portray a vibrant and growing industry. 

A mounting shortage of ICT specialists, including Data Scientists, Project Managers, and IT Security Professionals (Refer ICT Trends: Contrasts in Demand) is driving global increases in remuneration, as evidenced in recent survey reports. 

Predicted world-wide growth in demand, coupled with falling numbers of ICT tertiary qualified graduates, helps underpin the NZ Herald March headline; "How much is your degree worth?"; Big bucks for the right graduates".  

Increases in demand and shortages of supply will continue to provide a challenge to everyone with a vested interest in the growth and health of the ICT industry. 


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Jan Wijninckx 06 May 2016, 9:42 pm

Hi Gary,

Interesting stats, thank you. Figure 1 shows that we are down by 28% on 2011 which was the peak year. Question is how would 2011 compare to say 2004-2006?

In Wellington we're down by 14% on last year - explains why last year was such a horrendous year in IT contracting.

So the trend is massively down. That tallies with the salaries, they have stagnated since 2000. We all earn about the same as back then. That shows there is no longer a shortage like in the good old days of the 80's and 90's, when you could make real money in IT.

In addition the days of IT data centers, service mgmt, and bespoke development are rapidly drawing to a close courtesy of cloud providers like Amazon, Google ...rackspace. The days of data centrs in NZ are numbered. No one needs software dev anymore just sign up to salesforce, intuit accounting (the much bigger brother than Xero), or any other bit of kit you need.

So given all that, how can you conclude that there is a shortage? You may be passionate about encouraging young people into IT, but I would suggest they think twice before incurring student debt.

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