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The Ficticious Skilled Worker Shortage 23 May 2002 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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Just a year ago we were being told that NZ was losing its best and brightest IT workers to foreign lands -- lured by better pay and greater opportunity.

We were also told that, as a result of this brain drain, the global shortage of good IT staff had hit us and we needed to bring in more skilled immigrants.

To its credit, the government was fairly quick to respond to the exodus of our IT population and introduced a number of initiatives designed to make New Zealand a more attractive place to stay or return to.

Unfortunately they haven't addressed the main issue -- that of the "in your pocket" annual income for such workers.

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Never the less, there is evidence to suggest that ex-pat IT workers are indeed beginning to return home and fewer graduates are jumping ship at the earliest opportunity.

Unfortunately this appears to have created an even worse problem.

There are now a growing number of new graduates, skilled managers, and returned IT workers who are finding it damned difficult to get a job.

Certainly being a web designer is no longer a guarantee that you'll have companies beating down your door with $100 notes in an attempt to offer you a highly paid position. In fact it would appear from the feedback that I've been receiving, web designers make up a good percentage of those currently seeking a good job.

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To these young (and old) Kiwis struggling to find a job in the IT industry, the arrival of immigrants with skillsets the same as their own is hardly something to be happy about either.

Likewise, foreign IT workers lured to NZ by the promise of jobs and a better lifestyle might well be a little disappointed when they find out that the days of milk and honey are over -- or at least beginning to wane.

However there is something interesting happening in Australia.

A new "Center of Excellence" is being planned across the ditch and, according to reports, it will receive over A$200 million in funding over five years with an operating budget of around A$100 million per year.

Obviously such a venture will require plenty of smart IT people to make it work -- so those Kiwis and potential immigrants who are disillusioned by the situation here in NZ might consider a quick hop across the Tasman.

Of course the $1.1 billion dollar question is -- will such a "Center of Excellence" pay dividends?

Personally I tend to think that the best innovation comes from small, largely self-funded individuals or companies.

The mere thought of how much bureaucracy and administrative overhead will be involved in a $1.1 billion operation such as this leaves me cold.

Maybe NZ has the right idea with its smaller technology grants and acknowledgement that the little guys have as much, if not more to offer in the field of innovation as the big institutes and corporations.

I guess time will tell.

In the meantime, if you're an employer looking for IT staff, or an IT worker looking for a job, don't forget that there is a Job Center page on this site.

AcessNZ Back From The Dead
Like a phoenix from the ashes of a lapsed domain name registration, AccessNZ has returned from the dead.

I guess this is a timely reminder to ensure that the contact information on your Domainz file is kept up to date.

The downside is that while there are still scum such as ING around, you might, despite Domainz best attempts to prevent it, find your email address being harvested by spammers and scamsters.

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