ICT Trends – High Value Graduate Assets
Giving Job Candidates a Leg Up
Ensuring that New Zealand (NZ) Information Technology (IT) graduates, in preparation for entering
the workforce, have a combination of both the technical and the soft skills required by industry is
crucial for enhancing their career prospects. Strong emphasis is placed on providing the
opportunities to develop soft skills, in parallel with the technical papers, contained in the IT/IS
degree programmes in New Zealand tertiary institutes. The continuing emphasis on the advantage
to graduates of well-honed soft skills when looking to enter the job market is the subject of a recent
report by the Kaplan University's (KU) College of Business and Technology.
Drawing from a survey of over 250 KU faculty members nationwide, the report identified the traits
that will help business and technology students get ahead. Critical thinking and written
communication were ranked highest on the list of most valuable assets for students entering the
workforce, aside from the specialist education training.
Soft skills, such as interpersonal skills, being an articulate communicator and having a strong work
ethic were also considered advantageous for business and IT graduates competing for jobs,
assuming they equalled their peers in all other respects.
In addition, nearly half of those surveyed believed the outlook for business and IT graduates (in the
USA) would continue to remain positive over the next 12 months. Career growth industries
identified included information technology, information security and forensics, mobile computing,
and information systems management.
Demand for Soft Skills
Table 1 contains the results of a search on the Seek ICT website, using a range of the soft skill
descriptors referred to in the KU report.
Table 1 ICT Job Adverts – Results of Search for Soft Skills
Designated Soft Skill
Search Results (Number of
Seek ICT job adverts
containing the designated
Team player (Team focus)
Work ethic (Strong work ethic)
Written communication (Oral communication)
The results contained in table 1 clearly underline the value of soft skill assets to graduates of IT
degree programmes looking to enter the competitive NZ job market.
Seek ICT Job Market
Figure 1 indicates a slight upswing of 3 per cent in the Seek ICT job adverts for all NZ for the month
of October. This is 4 per cent lower than the October 2012 numbers and almost identical to the
October 2010 figures. Overall, Seek ICT job adverts for all NZ to October have increased by 49 per
cent since the beginning of this year.
Fig.1 Seek ICT Job Adverts Monthly Trends 2010 –2013 (October)
Trademe IT (fig.2) job adverts are up by 4 per cent on this time last year and have increased by 12.5
per cent for the month of October.
Fig.2 Seek ICT & Trademe IT Job Advert Trends to October 2013
Seek ICT job adverts for October (fig.3) have increased by 15.3 per cent for Wellington and by 11.3
per cent for Canterbury, down 11.8 per cent last month, a positive swing of 23 per cent.
Fig.3 Seek ICT Job Advert Trends Monthly Change for October 2013
Figure 4 provides a detailed record of the Seek ICT job advert trends by region to October 2013. Seek
ICT job adverts for Auckland have increased by 52.3 per cent since January 2013 while Wellington is
up 44.6 per cent and Canterbury has increased by 89 per cent for the same period.
Fig.4 Seek ICT Job Advert Monthly Trends to October 2013
Jobs in Demand
Last month’s comparison of Seek ICT job adverts by sub-category illustrated a strong demand for
programmers/developers; almost 2.5 times greater than the second highest category of programme
and project management.
A recent report out of Malaysia (ICT Job Market Outlook in Malaysia | June 2013) indicates that in
the technical domain, ICT professionals equipped with Java, C#, C++, dotNet, SharePoint and Web
Application Developers are highly sought after.
By way of comparison, a spot check of the New Zealand Seek ICT job adverts this month indicates a
healthy demand for ICT professionals equipped with these skills, namely; C# (757), Java (779), C++
(717), dotnet (799), Sharepoint (247) and Web Application Developers (788).
News Bytes: A to Z
Canada - The Vancouver Sun (October 2013)
More than 100,000 workers are needed for the information, communications and technology (ICT)
industry over the next decade.
Malaysia – ICT Job Market Outlook 2013
As reﬂected once again in this outlook, countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore and China in Asia
and Australia, New Zealand and United States of America in the English speaking world have a much
higher capacity for remuneration, which is bound to attract competent Malaysian ICT professionals.
NZ – Stuff.co.nz (October 2013)
Computer science and software engineering Professor Tim Bell, of the University of Canterbury, said
New Zealand's youth could harness their online experience to lead the world's digital development,
but employers were struggling to fill vacancies, despite offering graduates "fantastic" salaries.
NZ – Department of Labour (2012)
Job prospects for ICT business and systems analysts are good. Demand for employees in these fields
has been growing, and there are not enough graduates to meet this demand.
NZ – NZQA Draft 2 - Needs Analysis Review of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
Qualifications (June 2013)
A large number of ICT related positions remain on the long-term skills shortage list, but most of
these are related to degree-qualified occupations. ………there is evidence from published
employment and occupation data and job vacancy trends of continuing demand for skilled
professionals in the ICT sector.
SA – ITWeb (October 2013)
South Africa ranked second last out of 1443 countries for the quality of math and science
education. …………a very important component of the IT sector and being able to deliver services is
SA – ITWeb (October 2013)
Mainframe usage over the past decade or so continues to grow around the world and we see a similar
trend here in South Africa. ………a high percentage of the current technical skills base is close to
retirement with not enough new people entering the mainframe world.
USA -The Wall Street Journal (June 2013)
Critical thinking and written communications are the most important skills college graduates in
business and information technology (IT) programs will need (in order) to succeed in the workforce.