Engineers manipulate skills shortage

Engineers manipulate skills shortage

Competition for staff among system integrators and government in Wellington shows no signs of weakening, and at least one integrator is looking to other industries and countries to address the shortage.

Datacom’s solutions group general manager Marty Arell says his company has lost a number of staff in a sector characterised by low employee loyalty and employees shopping around for the best deal.

“We have lost a number of staff both to government and to other integrators. The labour shortage has driven remuneration packages up and staff are more likely to bounce between jobs,” he says.

Datacom has recently introduced a recruitment programme to bring staff in from other industries and train them in IT technology. “We’re prepared to invest our time and effort in the industry even though there’s a risk other companies will find [the trained staff] attractive and they will go elsewhere.”

He says IT firms often have to recruit from other companies or from India.

Gen-i head of sales in Wellington, Paul Wilson, says labour shortages are particularly acute for roles including high-end project managers, solution architects and software developers.

He says competition has forced both government and integrators to improve what they offer workers.

“It’s a resource shortage in the market and everyone’s competing for the same people,” Wilson says. “There’s very large change programmes in government at the moment and the government is paying fair market rates for people.”

The competition for such staff has created a market for independent contractors to command higher rates than they could get as an employee, he says.

Axon general manager Scott Green says his company is finding it hard to get good staff in all roles and in all locations, not just Wellington.

“In Wellington we see the public sector as a competitive alternative for people that are considering career opportunities and that competition is probably stronger than say 12 to 18 months ago,” says Green.

“[The public sector] certainly appears to be offering more competitive packages than they have previously.”

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