High demand for ICT staff with the ‘X factor’

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The New Zealand hi-tech industry continues to flourish, resulting in increased headcount over the last 12 months, reports Madison Recruitment.

While some skills are more in demand as organisations move to digital and cloud platforms, Madison says people with “that mystical ‘X factor” are the most sought after.

These are staff who have a "blend of technical and interpersonal skills”, says Ashley Sadler, ICT recruitment - team leader for Madison.

“Not only do they have deep technical skills and are very highly qualified from a technology side, they also have fantastic business management stakeholder [skills] and really understand their area of the business,” says Sadler.

Only a few years back, people really specialised in technology stacks, he says.

But today, he says, “The actual technology tool is becoming less and less important and it is more the understanding of what the tool can do for the business that is becoming more important.”

Ashley Sadler, Madison Recruitment

The actual technology tool is becoming less and less important and it is more the understanding of what the tool can do for the business that is becoming more important.

Madison’s Inaugural NZ Employment Market 2016 report notes how their executives spent far more time in the past year discussing the team, environment and workplace culture than ever before with both private and government clients.

As IT is increasingly the conduit between other areas of the business, soft (communication) skills are vital, it states.

The report notes there were major requirements on the software engineering side with high demand for skilled developers, testers, UI/UX designers, business analyst, and application support in the software engineering space and particularly within cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) organisations.

“We expect the development space to continue to grow with far more organisations within both the public and private sector looking to update legacy systems and bring their organisations up to speed with the current climate. IT support was viewed as the cornerstone of business and crucial to growth and therefore, demand for IT support talent was consistent throughout the year.”

Data power

The report finds big data skills are becoming strategically important for medium to large enterprises. "Traditional reporting tends to be retrospective, however analytics has a predictive focus which requires more sophisticated data modelling and analysis tools. “

The recruitment agency says it has started to see fewer reports in spreadsheet format and more in attractive graphical formats using data visualisation tools to highlight patterns and trends.

“It’s about getting that competitive edge and it’s essential that results are easily interpreted by business leaders.”

As a result of this growth, experienced data warehousing and business intelligence, customer and product insights candidates are in great demand.

“The high performers in this area usually possess an interesting blend of technical capability and analytical skills, making good candidates hard to find,” it states.

Salaries increased markedly in high demand areas, with specialist roles like front-end software development seeing the highest gains, the report states.

As organisations transform into digital businesses, "it is important to understand that the digital space is as much about customer insights and being customer-centric," notes Sadler.

The key parts of the digital leadership role, whether that is held by the CIO or CDO, are business growth, transformation, efficiency, productivity and profitability, he says. “More than ever, the shift is towards the CIO or the CDO in really being a key instigator in terms of business change.”

“I really like the fact it used to be the traditional CFO was the strategic career move towards an eventual CEO position,” he says. “I would say the CIO would in the future be the traditional move into the ultimate CEO position."

Salary expectations for the year ahead

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Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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