June I.T. & Digital Market Update

22 June 2021 Noel Hassapladakis & Maree Hayes

Update

​WHAT'S BEEN HAPPENING?

Regional roundup

In a word… things have been – BUSY!

In Auckland, momentum is building in the market, and the team are working on the most roles they have had in a month since pre-covid. Contracting has grown exponentially in the last quarter, while permanent placements also continue to trend up strongly.

The market has heated up significantly within the project services space over the past few months, with more businesses now happy to sign off on contract resources – many for the first time since Covid hit.

The Wellington team also report a fast-paced market in terms of new vacancies but are experiencing a lack of quality talent to fill them. There has been a boost in permanent vacancies, but as with Auckland, the contract space remains busy, particularly with many government agencies seeming to be extending contractors.

Supporting businesses to attract and retain talent

Border closures are obviously still causing significant issues, with competition for highly skilled talent at an all-time high. Candidates often find themselves in multi-offer situations or significantly counter-offered by their current employer to stay, immediately counting out organisations who are too slow or unable or not interested in engaging with a highest bidder scenario.

Speed to market is also a huge concern across the industry. Many permanent roles take longer to go through the full process than before Covid, meaning there is greater potential for candidates to identify other opportunities and fall through the cracks.

Worryingly, the closed border situation means when we place someone in a role, another NZ business is usually being weakened because of an inability to acquire replacement talent from offshore.

Our team continuously focuses on a swift, efficient, and thorough process to secure top talent for your business without compromising quality or cultural fit. Our networks and relationships allow us to go direct to the talent without relying on job boards and effectively manage multi-offer or complex situations at speed.

Mobilising offshore talent in a Covid world

NZ is skill constrained even when the borders are open, and this has been magnified at least threefold since the borders closed, reinforcing the fact that mobilising resources from offshore is both one of the biggest challenges and opportunities in the technology and digital space.

We see some clients and companies step up as innovators to lead the way in this space, mobilising talent by enabling them to work from their home country, with the commitment to move forward with sponsorship once the borders open.

We would love to see more businesses consider alternative working arrangements when extreme talent shortages exist and filling a role from within NZ is proving difficult. We are happy to work with our clients to find solutions that will meet both client and candidates needs.

Bring ALL the benefits in a competitive landscape

Across all regions, competition for quality talent is fierce, with search and headhunting becoming more prevalent and businesses and recruiters alike targeting competing companies for key talent.

Candidates generally seem more interested in benefits, not just the salary component of an offer. As a result, we are seeing a trend towards offering better perks – healthcare, working from home, and bonuses - in addition to generous salaries to entice people away from existing companies.

Training is often a differentiating factor in discerning their interest between different opportunities, as is working from home, or working flexibility (particularly for developers). Many candidates prioritise this in their job search, looking for multiple days out of the office. Most clients respond well and have options put in place.

We see a slight trend towards more in-office time with some clients now saying that their staff must work a certain number of days in the office to bring teams together for their culture, and more clients seeking face-to-face meetings rather than teams and zoom calls.

Contractor chat

The Business Analyst (BA) market is bustling, showing there are a lot of projects about to begin. Good BAs are receiving longer-term contracts at some of the highest rates we have seen in a while.

In the Government space, we see some Government agencies trying to convert contractors to fixed-term employees; however, many contractors are unwilling to accept FTC.

Many clients are reporting their projects are likely to miss deadlines or costs will overrun significantly, as Vendors, Managed Service Providers, Big 4 and Software Houses capitalise on any benched resources that their clients cannot hire permanently in the open market, so they have to pay high premiums for these resources.

Clients are trying to budget as well as possible, with rates for some contractors being slightly lower in the market and paying above market rate for good candidates in other areas – great for the candidates now, but potentially not when they look for work again.

Clients who can flex their rates will get the most candidates, and as always, our team can advise on trends in the current market to help you get the best resource for your budget.

As always, contracting will gather pace, continuing to ramp up towards Christmas, so a busy and competitive second half of the year in the contractor world is expected. With talented, top-quality contractors easily finding themselves work, our focus is on ensuring we build and nurture our solid networks and talent pools to meet client demand as things get busy!

Positive post-Covid project trends

We are seeing many significant projects centred around Digital Customer Engagement, with clients who had this on the roadmap for 2022 or 2023, bringing the work forward to 2021 in the wake of Covid. Many businesses are now scrambling for the same resources, so we are focusing on building robust contract talent pools to meet this demand.

Data maturity continues to be a key business focus also, as organisations try to understand the impact of new customer behaviours. With a better understanding of how customers have changed during Covid, organisations continue to redevelop core customer platforms to enable a more sophisticated experience.

It is positive to see many businesses are significantly investing in their businesses, solidifying cloud solutions put in at pace last year, and generally looking at investing money where tangible benefits are likely to be felt within the short to medium term.

Top talent requirements

Although demand is high across the I.T. and technology industry in general, we see specific demand for the following roles and skillsets:

  • Developers – all types, although a trend towards less .NET / Java and more modern dev stack, i.e., React, React Native, Node, Angular etc.

  • Data – all levels

  • BAs, Project Managers and Project Support

  • Test Automation

  • Network and Infrastructure Engineers

  • Integration – CRM to Back end/legacy and Digital front end with Legacy Systems

  • Cloud Engineering – Sys Ops through to Architecture and everything in between

  • Cloud Specialists – Azure and AWS

  • Security – with particular emphasis on Cloud are all in high demand.

  • UI / UX and CX - we see an uptrend for roles in this space also

LOOKING AHEAD

New budget, new projects

With Government budgets announced, and significant projects due to commence, such as the health system reform, there will be a focus on building teams as projects begin to gain traction.

The Government pay freeze is likely to impact the market, with candidates potentially more open to a move into the private sector to get salary increases, particularly as private entities increasingly offer wrap-around benefits to rival those previously guaranteed in the public sector.

Nurturing our homegrown talent

The numbers of graduates entering study in I.T.-related fields have declined for the last few years, and we see Universities actively promoting I.T.-related careers to drive enrolments. However, the tech industry needs to come to the party and ensure well-developed pathways are in place for new grads once they complete their study. We are seeing more and more clients implement successful graduate programmes and are always willing to discuss how a grad programme could positively impact your business.

Covid continues

Despite Covid-19 vaccination schemes rolling out in New Zealand and around the world, the pandemic impacts are still widely felt, and the border is likely to remain effectively closed to most for some time yet.

With border restrictions significantly impacting the skill shortage in NZ, clients may need to take an innovative approach to remote working. As recruiters, we will continue to focus on finding and attracting skilled talent wanting and eligible to return to New Zealand.

Stand out in the crowd

The market will remain tight for highly skilled individuals, and organisations will need to keep this top of mind when it comes to managing their recruitment and onboarding processes.

In this competitive market, we have seen a marked improvement of clients willing to work with us to push out their USP's and Employee Value Proposition to the market – a fantastic trend that will see long-term benefits for businesses hoping to attract local and overseas talent. Our team has advice and resources to help make sure your role stands out in a competitive market.

A NOTE FROM OUR DIRECTORS

As our GMs and their teams' commentary demonstrates, the lack of offshore talent that New Zealand has typically relied on further increases the gap between supply and demand. The need for organisations to accelerate technology, digital, and cloud projects, coupled with the growth of emerging tech companies, is putting a strain on talent.

To date, we have yet to see any compelling initiatives from the government to address this widening gap. We would like to see some initiatives to increase organisations' uptake of graduate/junior talent.

We have recently welcomed Maree Hayes and Sophie Unterhofer to the Recruit I.T. family. Maree is our new General Manager in our Wellington office, and Sophie has joined the marketing team as Marketing and Digital Coordinator as we continue our investment in digital marketing and talent attraction for our customers.

Our Auckland team also welcomed Jim Coates into the city of sails, who moved internally from the Wellington team.

We have been blown away by the demand from our clients, and our team is thriving on the roles flooding in. The candidate market is tight, but we continue to leverage our long-standing relationships and talent pools to make the right matches for candidates and clients alike.

Bring on the rest of the year!