Information technology

Your chance to combine a unique lifestyle with a career in an industry that’s making people around the world sit up and take notice.

New Zealand's tech sector is diverse and advanced. It’s a breeding ground for innovation and competes successfully on the world stage.

Big business, competing globally

New Zealand’s information and communications technologies (ICT) sector is diverse, covering wireless infrastructure, health IT, digital content, payments, geospatial, telecommunications, agricultural technology and more. Whatever your niche or speciality, there could well be opportunities here.

IT jobs: Eagle Technology (02:47)

Scott Campbell, Eagle Technology: Eagle Technology has been around for over forty years now. We got very interested in the area of technology called GIS or geo spacial information systems. And that's the area I work in and it's been the biggest growth areas for us in the last 20-30 years. So Eagle Technology has around a hundred employees. Roughly about half of our GIS staff are from overseas.

IT in New Zealand is strong at the moment. There's a lot more jobs on offer than there are CVs available. And that's a reflection of the fact that the industry's still growing and we're seeing the GIS area growing especially quickly. I think a lot of our overseas staff have moved to New Zealand primarily for a improved lifestyle. We're based here in Wellington and as capitals go, it's quite a good one to live in.

It's very walkable. I think that's something that appeals to people. People have come from bigger cities and have been used to commuting large distances to their workplace. In Wellington especially that's no longer an issue. Alongside that, there are opportunities professionally to develop as well.

With the small organizations here, there's more room for maneuvering perhaps and more room for advancement as well. So in the field of GIS, one of the more interesting areas of application is using three-dimensional data to visualize and plan how a city, or a building, or an entire country will look in the future and we're doing a lot of work in that area as a result of the rebuild of Christchurch.

One of the growth areas for us in New Zealand is the use of LIDAR data which is light detection and ranging. And our partner in New Zealand is Terralink. That's a really efficient way of capturing a whole bunch of data post-earthquake or just with a new development in turn. I think there's a fair amount of innovation takes place in New Zealand organizations.

Partly that's due to necessity, being a small country and small organizations. People have to turn their hand at things that perhaps otherwise they wouldn't. One of the main reasons that we look overseas for our staff is for the combination of experience with the tools and also maybe a different approach to solving problems.

So we see overseas workers coming to New Zealand both with work visas and also with permanent residency status. The latter from our point of view is really interesting because it indicates from our point of view that the person is making a considerate choice to move to New Zealand for the longer term.

So if I had a tip for someone who's coming overseas to New Zealand, it would be to do as much research about the country and the environment as they can. So housing in New Zealand is probably different than housing you're used to in your own country, and so having a chance to look at and that speak to people who've come from your country to here would be invaluable in terms of choosing what's going to be suitable suitable for you and for family.

Come and have a look around and see which part of New Zealand is best suited for your choice. 

ICT is a major and growing business for New Zealand, contributing over $30 billion to GDP in 2014 (around 40% attributable to telecommunications) and growing at over 9% a year.

It’s a very outwardly focused industry that competes successfully around the world. Exports have been growing at 14% a year, reaching $930m in 2014.

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New Zealand's ICT companies have earned an international reputation for being flexible, resilient, adaptable and entrepreneurial. Many high-profile projects have come out of our ICT industry.

  • The world's most advanced, safest wireless charging system comes from PowerbyProxi, an offshoot of Auckland University. The business is now part-funded by Korean giant Samsung and in 2014 signed a licensing deal with US Fortune 500 company Texas Instruments (TI).
  • A robotic exoskeleton that allows paralysed people to stand and walk, developed by New Zealand's Rex Bionics, is used in rehab clinics and research hospitals in the US, Europe and Asia. 
  • Accounting software developed by cloud accounting business Xero helped the company top Forbes' list of 'Most Innovative Growth Companies' in 2014. 
  • A security solution from Gallagher was named 'Best Perimeter Protection Product/System' in the US Government Security News 'Homeland Security Awards' in 2014.
  • Peter Jackson's The Hobbit, shot at 48 frames per second has pioneered HFR (High Frame Rate) film production. 

Several global industry leaders have chosen New Zealand as a base for their ICT operations, including the global IT services provider Fujitsu.

IT people needed

The number of businesses in the sector topped 10,000 for the first time in 2014 and direct employment grew 12% to 26,690. In the wider economy, nearly 75,000 people are employed in ICT-related roles.

Growing digitisation and increased use of ICT across the economy is generating employment growth across a range of skill-sets, including software engineering and development, project managers, marketers, sales, administrators and business analysts.

The subsector driving most growth is computer system design: wages/salaries in this area are twice the New Zealand average.

Interactive gaming is another fast-growing subsector which is now a multi-million dollar export industry.

Across the wider economy, job growth in ICT-related occupations has been driven by ‘Software and Applications Programmers’ and ‘ICT Business and Systems Analysts’.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment reported in 2014 that “more firms in the sector reported vacancies, and that vacancies are hard to fill, than any other sector in the economy”.

It all adds up to one thing - opportunity.

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What jobs and where

Immigration New Zealand has lists of skill shortages.

If you are offered a job which appears on a skill shortage list and you have the qualifications and experience to match, getting a work visa will be easier. This is because the Government has identified that employers need to recruit people from overseas to help meet demand for your skills.

But if your job is not on a shortage list, don’t be disheartened. There are other work and resident visa options. IT jobs on the lists include:

  • business analyst
  • developer programmer
  • software engineer
  • project manager
  • security specialist
  • software tester
  • telecommunications network engineer
  • database administrator
  • QA engineer.

While most IT jobs are in the main centres (Auckland 50%, Wellington 27%, Christchurch 12%), there are opportunities right across New Zealand. That’s because medium to large businesses and government departments everywhere employ their own IT professionals and support staff.

Skill shortage skill checker | Immigration New Zealand

Visa options

There are various types of visas that you may be eligible to apply for. Work visas are for a temporary stay in New Zealand, but some can lead to residence. Resident visas, such as the Skilled Migrant Category, allow you to stay indefinitely and enjoy more of our state-funded public services.

Visas to work in New Zealand

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Page last updated: 26/09/2016

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