The 2017 ICT Sector report demonstrates the strength of New Zealand’s technology sector, said economic development minister Simon Bridges.
The report (pdf), which focuses on firms developing and exporting information technology services and software, was launched in Wellington yesterday alongside "ProjectR", an initiative focusing on virtual, augmented and mixed reality research and development.
IT product and services firms accounted for 41 per cent of ICT GDP in New Zealand in 2015, up from 28 per cent in 2007.
The report found there are 10,700 more jobs in computer system design today than in 2010 and 54 computer system design firms that employ more than 100 people – nine more than in 2015.
This is now about the same number of large firms as in the machinery and manufacturing sector.
Average salaries and wages of close to $100,000 in computer system design firms are twice the New Zealand average.
“The IT services sector makes a significant contribution to our economy. In 2016, more than 11,000 IT firms, employed 29,700 people and contributed $3.6 billion dollars to New Zealand’s GDP," Bridges said.
Firms in the sector invested $436 million in R&D in the last year, more than any other sector in the economy. Exports were close to a $1 billion.
There are also more firms in the sector - both large and in start-up phase - and more local and international investors.
A challenge is to further develop training and career pathways to meet the demands of the sector, Bridges said.
Job vacancies in computer system design firms are high and harder to fill than in any other sector in the economy, the report found. Applicants with professional, technical and computer skills were cited by employers as the hardest to recruit.
Of all bachelors students enrolled in New Zealand, only eight per cent are studying information technology as their main subject.
The number of graduates in computer science and information systems programs at tertiary level has, however, grown by eight per cent year-on-year since 2008.