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Attracting the best ‘tech talent’ to the Bay
Attracting the best ‘tech talent’ to the Bay

With our nationwide unemployment rate sitting at 4.9% for the December quarter, well below where many predicted, a range of employers across the Western Bay of Plenty are facing challenges getting the right people into jobs.

It’s something that’s being felt particularly in the Tech sector, as a range of transformation projects and growth-focused business plans ramp up. To help tackle these challenges, we spoke with Brian Bernard from IT recruitment agency Absolute IT – he’s a Tauranga local with over 25 years’ experience in the IT industry, and a valued contributor to the tech sector in our region.

“With our borders closed we’re seeing talent shortages across almost every industry. These shortages aren’t just in the tech sector, but because technology plays such a significant role for many businesses, securing the right tech talent is a fundamental pillar for many employers to capitalise on their plans for 2021 and beyond”.

But what about all the returning Kiwis from overseas? Since border restrictions came into effect in March 2020 our net migration gain has been driven by New Zealand citizens. However, a Stats NZ report from February 2021 indicates that annual net migration continues to fall steadily, down to a provisional net gain of 44,100 in the year ended December 2020.

Anecdotally though, “these people are not flooding the job market”. In speaking with Brian, one of the range of reasons for this is that there are many people who continue to work for their offshore employer – often getting favourable conditions to sweeten the deal. Some are even working for Auckland workplaces and commuting for face-to-face meetings a couple of times a month.

But it’s not a scenario that’s likely to last forever. With good work/life integration being top of many people’s list of must-haves, working across multiple time zones coupled with family commitments and the demand of remote working is not sustainable long-term.

So, how can you stand out to potential employees?

If you’re looking to grow your team or fill vacant positions, Brian has four great suggestions.

1. Tell your employment story and tell it well. What do you have to offer, and what makes you stand out from the crowd? There will be something special about your organisation, so embrace it and let it shine through when you’re recruiting.

2. Take time to acknowledge every application. Whether your organisation is big, or small, or something in between, it really matters. Your applicants may one day be your customer. Or they may be right for a different role in the future. They can still have a great experience with you, even if they don’t get the job.

3. Stop selling your roles on ‘the lifestyle’ alone. If you want to attract talented people from outside the region, keep in mind that some of our lifestyle factors are not too far from those in Auckland – such as traffic and house prices.

4. Act quickly. Great candidates won’t stick around for long, so try to have some flex in your ability to offer more – from remuneration to benefits, career progression and role flexibility, candidates are looking at the big picture so be sure to present a well-rounded offer.