26 Apr 2013

Firms hit by shortage of skilled IT workers

2:53 pm on 26 April 2013

Two of the country's leading IT companies are crying out for more skilled workers to cope with growing demand.

Google New Zealand and software exporter Orion Health say not enough people are gaining IT qualifications and they are having to look overseas for staff.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates the number of IT professionals grew by about 25% from 2005 to 2010, and more than 7200 new employees entered the industry.

Economists predict the number entering the workforce needs to double by 2017 to keep up with demand.

Gareth Cronin, vice-president of product development at Orion Health, says the problem is that the number of graduates in the field hasn't increased in the past 10 years.

Mr Cronin told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme on Friday it is incredibly difficult to find software engineers and test engineers with the technical depth and skills required.

He said high schools need to make students aware of the job possibilities and career paths available.

The head of Google New Zealand, Tony Keusgen, said two out of three small and medium sized businesses don't have a website, and if all of them decided to move towards the web this year there would not be enough people to help them make that transition.

Both companies are working with education providers to promote digital careers.